Farm Sanctioned After Teenager Collision with Dumper Truck


In February 2023 the Health and Safety Executive handed down its decision to impose financial penalties of approximately eight thousand pounds to a person from the farming community after a young workforce member was involved in an accident whereby substantial injuries to the head were sustained. 

What Happened In The Case?

The matter centered around events that had occurred on Exeter farmland where the farmer had provided employment opportunities to two young persons. One aged nineteen and the other aged sixteen. They were both employed on the task of transporting building materials in conjunction with a development project on the farming premises. The job appeared to have been progressing well and without a hitch. However, matters deteriorated when a commercial vehicle and more particularly a vehicle designed for the provision of dumping materials. During the incident the driver of the commercial vehicle involved in the accident somehow appears to have lost control of it, it capsized and fell onto the nineteen-year-old member of the workforce. As a consequence of the incident, the young member of the workforce required hospitalization and resided in the intensive care unit for a short time until he returned to full health.   

Later some shocking facts emerged. Under normal circumstances, an employer contemplating employing staff would conduct checks to see if they met the competence and age requirements for the work-related activities they are being asked to carry out. However, the farming business employing the young person who found himself in the unfortunate situation of being injured in the incident with the commercial dumper vehicle had neglected to carry out the necessary leg work to assess the competence of the workforce under its control. The only pre-work process the farming business had carried out was to communicate with members of the workforce on what activities were involved in the respective project. 

What Did The Health and Safety Executive Say?

When the HSE probed the circumstances it was seemingly scathing of the farming business’ decision not to: 

  • conduct checks on the age of the young workforce members

  • look into the experience of colleagues with commercial dumping vehicles and

  • examine if workforce members had a record of any qualifications to work around such vehicles      

However, in the HSE’s view, the farming professional incorrectly advised workforce members to drive the commercial vehicle over a section of the farmland which was in its opinion too steep for such vehicles to drive upon. The HSE appears to have perused the manufacturer’s specifications and commented that the manner the commercial vehicle was used was unsuitable for this steep area of farmland. The HSE also observed that a seatbelt could not be utilized due to the presence of a sack containing fertilizer.                 

Feet to the Fire?

In the Magistrates Court in Yeovil, the farmer submitted admissions to violations of section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which placed legal obligations upon the farming businesses to safeguard persons not employed and whereby there was a chance of being impacted by the way it conducted itself. 

Lessons Learned? 

With more than sixty percent of persons killed by commercial dumping vehicles centring around a vehicle capsizing those responsible for the workforce welfare need to focus on the following areas: 

  • managing and controlling risk

  • ensuring a competent workforce 

  • redoubling its effort to upskill their colleagues

  • identifying if the land is too steep to be used by commercial dumping vehicles 

  • checking the mechanism of the vehicle is in full working order and

  • conducting full vehicle checks regularly. 


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[SOURCE 1] Health and Safety Executive – Exeter farmer fined after teenage worker injured on dumper – 15th February 2023 - Exeter farmer fined after teenage worker injured on dumper | HSE Media Centre

[SOURCE 2] Health and Safety Executive – Overturning tractors and other self-propelled vehicles - Overturning tractors and other self-propelled vehicles - Agriculture - HSE

[SOURCE 3] Section 3 Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 - Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (

[SOURCE 4] Health and Safety Executive – Dumpers - Construction - Dumpers industry health & safety (



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