A firm selling farm machinery must pay $90,000 in compensation to a farmer injured after she was run over by her husband when the brakes on the tractor he was using failed.  The tractor was on trial by the farmers for use on their land but the company that supplied the tractor was aware of problems with the brakes but took insufficient care in carrying out repairs on the tractor before it supplied it to them for the trial period.

As the tractor was going up a bank its brakes failed which allowed it to slip back down the bank running over the victim.  She suffered significant injuries to her leg and back and has had to undergo multiple surgeries.

The Judge held that the equipment firm exposed the farmer to a risk of death or serious injury as a result of the brake failure on its equipment.  A fine for the company will be imposed at a later date.

This case is an example of liability being imposed under the Health & Safety at Work Act for a worker employed not by the company being prosecuted and it shows that your obligations under health and safety extend not to just your own employees but to anyone who might be injured while carrying out your business.

Alan Knowsley
Health & Safety Lawyer