Farming firm ordered to pay £80,000 after a worker dies in a tractor accident.

The deceased from Somerset was driving a tractor with no seat belt, cab or roll over bar on a sloping field when the accident occurred.

Bristol Crown Court heard staff at the farming firm regularly used the tractor to carry out work at the farm. On the day of the incident, the victim had been checking the cattle, and on the way back the tractor rolled over on a sloping field.

The tractor overturned twice and then continued moving in circles until it came to rest against a fence. It is thought that the deceased was crushed as the tractor overturned.

Members of the public witnessed the driverless tractor on a nearby road, found the worker and alerted the emergency services but she was declared dead on arrival at hospital.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed the tractor had no rollover protection system (consisting of a roll bar and seat restraint) which could have protected the driver if the vehicle rolled over.

Inquiries also revealed brake pedals on the tractor were not able to be linked together making it unsuitable to be driven on the road.

The court heard there was a lack of suitable and sufficient risk assessments for the type of work being carried out and there was no evidence of a safe system of work for jobs employees were asked to do with the tractor.

Prosecuting, the HSE said no ‘effective training’ was in place for workers using the tractor and there was a ‘failure of management control, oversight and supervision regarding the use of the tractor’.