Fines totalling £50,000 have been handed down to three defendants following the death of a student while he was repairing a tractor in Northern Ireland almost five years ago.
The prosecution at Belfast Crown Court followed an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) into the workplace death of Neil Graham.
The 17-year-old part-time engineering student died at the premises of Gordon Brown Agricultural Engineering, Boho Road, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh on May 22, 2018.
Gordon Brown, the owner of the business, and Neil, who was a student at South West College, Omagh, were working on repairs to a tractor owned by C&V Loane Limited of Kesh, Co. Fermanagh.
Neil was completing his work placement with Gordon Brown.
While working underneath the tractor, Neil was fatally crushed by the forward movement of the back right wheel after Gordon Brown started the vehicle.
The HSENI investigation found that a safety feature to prevent the vehicle being started while in-gear had been by-passed sometime prior to it being brought in for repair.
An inspection pit was available in the workshop, from where the tractor could have been examined safely from below, however, it was not used at the time.
Each of the three defendants had earlier pleaded guilty to the health and safety offences at a court hearing in November 2022.
Gordon Brown was fined £20,000 for failing to ensure the safety of his employee, Neil Graham, and for failing to implement a safe system while working under the tractor.
Jamie Loane, a director and employee of C&V Loane Limited, was fined £10,000 for failing in his duties as an employee to take reasonable care for the health and safety of another person.
The court fined C&V Loane Limited £20,000 for failings in respect of its duty to Neil Graham as someone who was not directly employed by the company.
Speaking after the hearing, HSENI inspector Anne Cassidy said: “This tragic incident needlessly claimed the life of a young man who was training to become a qualified mechanic.
“Working under machinery of any description poses significant hazards. This work activity was even more hazardous as a key safety feature of the tractor had been disabled.
“Every employer has a responsibility to ensure the safety of workers. The identification of safe systems of work is key to ensuring safe work practices,” Cassidy said.