• Robert Spicer

Scottish farm grain bin asphyxiation: health and safety prosecution

Farm grain bin asphyxiation: £45,000 fine

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service v Seamore Farming (2016) Jedburgh Sheriff Court, February 22.

A Scottish farm has been fined after a worker was killed in a grain bin.

Significant points of the case

  • In August 2014 Zach Dean Fox, aged 19, was working at Seamore Farming’s farm in Hawick. He was trying to clear a blockage in a large metal container used for grain storage.

  • The blockage was in an exit space at the bottom of the bin which still contained a quantity of grain. He became immersed in free-flowing grain and died from asphyxiation.

  • The system of work in place to clear blockages in the bin was inherently unsafe.

Seamore Farming was fined £45,000 for a breach of section 3, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of non-employees.

An HSE spokesperson commented after the case that the dangers associated with working within the confined space of grain silos and clearing blockages in grain silos are well known within the farming industry and well documented in HSE guidance. Farmers should ensure that they have a safe system of work in place for clearing blockages which avoids the need for anyone to enter inside them.

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