A mother has called for a change in attitude towards safety in agriculture after her four-year-old son fell to his death from a farm vehicle being driven by his uncle.
Harry Isaac Lee suffered fatal injuries after he fell from a cab footplate and was struck by a JCB telescopic loader at a farm in Newchurch-in-Pendle, Lancashire.
The toddler suffered a traumatic brain injury in the accident on 8 July 2019 and was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital where he died the following day.
Brian Nutter, of Tynedale Shippon, Newchurch-in-Pendle, Lancashire, faced Wigan Magistrates’ Court on Monday 7 March for sentencing. He admitted breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
He was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months; a 250-hour community order; and costs of £5,154.
The court heard that as the vehicle turned into a field, Harry fell from the footplate and was crushed beneath the wheels.
Speaking after the hearing, Harry’s mother, Sarah Nutter called for a change in attitude towards safety in agriculture.
“Losing a child at any age is a traumatic experience, but losing a child in such deeply tragic circumstances is completely life-changing,” she said.
“The event of Harry’s death has and will have a lasting effect that I, and my family, will never get over.
“Farming is a lifestyle and a way of life. If we could go back and make different decisions and do things differently, we would certainly do so. We have had to learn the hard way.
“The dangers to children on farms are often not appreciated when you live with them, but they should be at the forefront of all our minds every single day.
“I hope the effects of Harry’s accident will change the attitude of people living on farms and make them think twice about the dangers their children are exposed to and how easily accidents can be avoided.”
Passion for farming
Harry’s father, Martin Lee, said: “Harry, so passionate about farming even at four years old, was very much my legacy, the person who would take on the farm.
“Always smiling, Harry had a love for life that brought joy to all those around him and certainly lived his life to the full.
“He was a loving, caring, kind and bright child, full of affection for his family. It is a tragedy that he was needlessly taken from us too soon.
“His death has traumatised and deeply impacted the whole family.”
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there were insufficient measures in place to ensure the safety of children on the farm.
The Prevention of Accidents to Children in Agriculture Regulations 1998, prohibits children under the age of 13 from riding on, or operating, vehicles used in agricultural operations. In addition, no-one, including children, should ride on the footplate of any agricultural machine.
HSE inspector Shellie Bee said Harry’s death was “wholly avoidable” and was caused by a failure to protect him from farmwork activities.
Harry should not have been in the workplace, or allowed to ride on farm machinery.
“Each year, children are killed and many more are seriously injured as a result of farming work. Often the child is a close relative to those managing and running the farm.
“The best way to keep children safe, particularly young children, is to keep them out of the farm workplace altogether. If taken onto the farm, to working areas, this must be carefully planned. The child should be fully supervised by a responsible adult who is not engaged in any other activity.”
She added: “In addition to the general health and safety duties to protect children. There is specific law that prohibits children under the age of 13 years from riding on or operating agricultural vehicles used during agricultural operations.
“Harry’s family hope that their story will make the wider farming community take steps to fully protect the safety of any child who may be on the farm.”