Inquiry into farm death

A farm worker was crushed to death as he cleaned machinery, a fatal accident inquiry at Jedburgh Sheriff Court has been told.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 9:51 am
Northhouse Farm. south of Hawick.

Bryan Thomson, 25, was power washing a mower at Northhouse Farm near Hawick, when it collapsed on top of him.

Emergency services raced to the scene, but he was pronounced dead by medics at 11.16am on October 25, 2019.

The inquiry heard that Mr Thomson had raised the Pottinger Novacast mower to clean it for winter storage.

But it’s believed a linkage had come loose, causing it to fall on him.

Sheriff Peter Paterson said precautions could have been taken for the mower to be held by axle supports or wooden blocks.

In a written judgement Sheriff Paterson said that when the tractor and mower were examined after the accident it was found that the nearside attachment point had come loose and that this was almost certainly the cause of the mower falling on the deceased.

He continued: “The most probable cause of the nearside linkage coming out of the hook was that it had been incorrectly fitted.

"However there was no clear evidence to this effect and therefore to a degree there is an element of speculation in this proposition.

"Finally, I would like to re-iterate the sentiments expressed by all parties about the tragic loss of such a fine young man."

The cause of death of the tractor/cattle man – who was employed by J. Hepburn & Co. was recorded as traumatic (crush) asphyxia.

Following Mr Thomson’s death, a spokesman for his employer paid tribute.

They said: “It was a massive shock, but praise must be given to everyone, including the emergency services, who dealt with a very difficult situation. He was an incredibly hard worker, often keen to go and start a job as most were finishing.

“To many, Bryan was the face of the contracting side of the business and he was very highly thought of as a skilled operator, carrying out his work to a very high standard … he was very well liked and a huge asset to the business.

“He will be greatly missed as a workmate and a friend for his funny banter and witty, cheeky remarks. His untimely passing will leave a very large void at Northhouse and beyond.”