Enniskillen: The death from a tractor-crush "shouldn't have happened."

Graham, Neil

The parents of a 17-year-old boy who was run over by a tractor demand harsher punishments for those who tamper with heavy machinery's safety.

Engineering student Neil Graham passed away in 2018 in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, while he was on a work placement.

The Health and Safety Executive discovered that the tractor he was working on had had a safety feature turned off before it was brought in for repair.

Over the incident, two men and a company were each fined £50,000 in total.

Joy Graham, Neil's mother, claimed that "no amount of money could ever completely erase" her sorrow over her son.

Neil Graham
The 17-year-old attended Omagh's South West College as an undergraduate.

If everyone had done their jobs correctly, "Neil would be here today," she told BBC News NI.

Since what happened was unnecessary and shouldn't have happened, we wouldn't wish it upon anyone. ".

The mother of Mr. Graham described her son as a "kind, loving, gentle giant" who had many friends and got along well with his siblings.

She said, "He didn't particularly enjoy the academic side of school.".

But once he realized how good he was at fixing things, he discovered a course called land-based engineering that he was really interested in taking so he could fix machinery, particularly farm machinery because he loved working on the farm with his dad. ".

The 17-year-old had been working at Gordon Brown Agricultural Engineering as part of a placement while attending South West College in Omagh.

Joy and Eddie Graham
For those who tamper with tractor safety, Neil's parents Joy and Eddie want harsher penalties.

Gordon Brown, the company's owner, and Neil had been collaborating on repairs for a tractor owned by C and V Loane Ltd.

The teen was crushed to death when the back right wheel of the tractor moved forward after Brown started it while he was searching underneath for an oil leak.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive revealed that a safety feature meant to prevent the vehicle from being started while in gear had been disregarded some time before the vehicle was brought in for repair.

Later, Brown claimed that if he had known about the modification, he would not have allowed Neil to work on it.

The workshop had an inspection pit that could have been used to safely inspect the tractor from below, but it wasn't being used at the time.

The main user, Jamie Loane of C and V Loane Ltd, was "under duty to make himself aware" of any alterations and pass that information on to anyone who would be affected by it, according to evidence presented this week at Belfast Crown Court, despite his claims that he was unaware of the change to the safety mechanism.

According to Mrs. Graham, the incident has lessons for us to learn.

Neil Graham
According to his father, the family is still adjusting to losing Neil.

"Something needs to be done, some law needs to be passed," she remarked, "to have a ruling on tractors that they have to be checked.".

Safety features are installed to protect people, and by removing them, this has happened. ".

According to Eddie Graham, Neil's father, the family is still processing their loss.

We have missed out on all of that because he loved family get-togethers, the man said.

"We not only lost our youngest son, but we also lost his future. ".

All of the defendants entered guilty pleas for health and safety violations.

A £20,000 fine was imposed on Gordon Brown, 63, of Enniskillen's Boho Road.

A $10,000 fine was imposed on Jamie Loane, 27, of Kesh's Derrybrick Road.

A £20,000 fine was imposed on his family's farm operation, C and V Loane Ltd.

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