'Test farm machinery,' says coroner as farmer crushed under tractor wheel
A coroner has said farm machinery in Northern Ireland should be MOT tested.
Eugene (Gene) Murphy, an elderly retired farmer from Co Armagh, was crushed under the wheel of his heavily-loaded tractor after problems with the handbrake and gear box allowed it to roll forward last summer, an inquest found.
The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) said a number of tragedies involving faulty tractor brakes had occurred in recent years.
Coroner Paddy McGurgan said: "It is disappointing to note that the EU in their wisdom, the powers that be, have rejected the need for an MOT-type system involving farming machinery.
"I as coroner believe that could only have been a good thing."
The HSENI identified a number of defects with the tractor, which had no engine braking from the gears. The handbrake was also faulty.
Mr Murphy, 70, had hitched a trailer and loaded it with eight tonnes of soil at a laneway on a slight slope on Lough Road in Silverbridge in August 25 last year.
The coroner found that it was likely that after filling the trailer the tractor began to move forward and the victim tried to get into the cab to rescue the machine and fell in front of the wheel.