HSENI investigation into death of 17-year-old engineering student in Fermanagh leads to three prosecutions
Following an investigation by the HSENI, fines totalling £50,000 have been handed down (15 February 2023) to three defendants at Belfast Crown Court.
The investigation followed a workplace fatality which took place in Enniskillen on 22 May 2018, resulting in the death of Mr Neil Graham, a 17-year-old part-time engineering student.
The tragic death occurred at the premises of Gordon Brown Agricultural Engineering, Boho Road, Enniskillen. Gordon Brown the owner of the business, and Neil, a part-time engineering student at South West College, Omagh, were working on repairs to a tractor owned by C&V Loane Limited of Kesh, County 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.
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.”
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.
Further information on repairing vehicles safely can be found on our website at: