Teen dies after falling into silo at Borders farm

The scene at the farm near Denholm. Picture: Contributed
The scene at the farm near Denholm. Picture: Contributed
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A TEENAGER has died after falling into a silo at a farm in the Scottish Borders.

Police officers responded to a call from the scene in Denholm, near Hawick, just after 9am on Friday.

He was named locally as Zach Fox, 18, and an investigation is underway.

Tributes were paid on social media.

Nina Fojcik wrote: “RIP Zach you were a lovely young boy and will be sadly missed taken far to young x”.

Liam Ramage also wrote: “He didn’t have one bad bone in his body, a genuine nice guy”.

It is the second silo death in less than a month in the UK and adds to the nearly 80 fatalities on Scottish farms in the past decade. A total of 27 people died on British farms in 2013.

A conference will take place next week at the Black Isle Agricultural Show on Thursday in Ross-shire on farm safety.

The National Farmers’ Union Scotland (NFUS) said everyone in the industry needed to work together to improve the safety record on Scottish farms.

He said: “It is obviously a tragic accident and our thoughts are with the young man’s family.

“As an industry, we have a fairly poor track record on health and safety issues. In the last decade there have been just under 80 deaths on Scottish farms and there will have been many more injured. We work in an industry that’s hazardous. We are doing a lot of work to improve our health and safety record.

“Each death is enormously tragic. Farming communities are very close knit communities and any loss like this has huge impact and it’s in everyone’s interest to improve our record.”

A police spokesman said: “Enquiries into the full circumstances surrounding this incident are ongoing and officers are currently liaising with the Health and Safety Executive.”

A spokeswoman for the Health and Safety Executive added: “Inspectors are on site liaising with Police Scotland who is leading the investigation.”

The Centenary Trust was set up last year by the NFUS which included recognition of health and safety projects in the rural community. It specifically emphasises children’s safety.

An initiative was also launched by the NFUS last month with Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance to adopt a grid reference system to help call for help in an emergency.

Next week’s conference include representatives of HSE and NFU Mutual, the main insurer of farms.

The Scottish Government confirmed that the cabinet secretary for rural affairs, Richard Lochhead, would be attending.

On 9 July, Arthur Mason, 22, died at his father’s farm, Larchwood Foods, Swaffham Road in Fincham, Norfolk, when he fell into a silo.

Emergency crews including an air ambulance were called to the farm but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

And in March, Jim Sharp, 66, who farmed near Lauder in the Borders, died while operating a grain auger.

In April, the HSE’s new head of agriculture, Rick Brunt, said farming should not be one of the UK’s most dangerous industries.

The HSE believes only 16 per cent of injuries are reported by farmers, and injuries continue to involve falls from height and lack of machinery safety, despite technology improving.

He said: “A single mistake can lead to a death, but people should be learning to do the job so a single slip does not matter.

“There is a legal obligation to report accidents and we want to get a realistic picture so we know what we are dealing with.

“But there is a reluctance to report because people believe they will face legal action.

“Sometimes you have to stop and think and plan your work a bit better. Farmers are always in a rush and always cutting corners and they tend to work alone as well.”