NI farmer fined £1,000 after boy passed out due to slurry fumes

The 14-year-old boy who worked on the farm for experience “did not know or was aware of the dangers”
The 14-year-old boy who worked on the farm for experience “did not know or was aware of the dangers”

A Northern Irish dairy farmer has been fined for an incident in which a teenager was overcome by fumes pumping slurry at a farm.

The 14-year-old boy, who worked on the farm during summer experience, had to be put in an induced coma, a court has heard.

Co Omagh dairy farmer Charles Elkin was fined £1,000 for breaching health and safety regulations.

The judge said farmers must realise that past ways of operating on the farm, once “thought safe enough are not safe enough”.

Judge Neil Rafferty QC told Dungannon Crown Court that the "message really has to go out to the farming community the time has come where we need to be aware that farming is a dangerous industry and that care has to be taken to prevent future generations making our mistakes".

Judge Rafferty said Mr Elkin’s left his son in charge of the slurry stirring along with the 14-year-old boy, who “did not know or was aware of the dangers”.



On top of the fine, Mr Elkin was ordered to pay costs of just under £1,400.

Dangers of slurry mixing

Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) inspector Anne Cassidy said the dangers of slurry are well-known.

"Far too many fatal incidents have occurred over recent years involving slurry mixing," she said.

"Following the slurry mixing code can prevent accidents and save lives. Once mixing starts everyone should get out and stay out for at least 30 minutes.

"The farmer failed to follow the accepted advice, placing a young and inexperienced employee at significant risk from exposure to the potentially deadly gas produced during mixing. This incident was easily preventable."