No procedure in place to avoid Moffat farmer's death

Dumfries Sheriff Court An inquiry into William Davidson's death was held in Dumfries

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A sheriff has recorded a formal verdict following a fatal accident inquiry into the death of a well-known farmer.

William Davidson, 62, died from head injuries after falling 16ft (4.8m) from the top of a silage pile at his farm near Moffat in January 2013.

He was pulling back plastic sheeting when he fell, apparently after his feet became entangled.

In his determination, Sheriff Daniel Kelly said there was no procedure in place to avoid the accident.

Mr Davidson was well respected in the farming community.

He was a past director of the Royal Highland Show and past chairman of Dumfries and Lockerbie Agricultural Show.

The farmer had rebuilt his cattle and sheep stock after it was wiped out by foot-and-mouth disease in 2001.

He was then part of a steering group helping other farmers affected by the crisis.

'Simplest precaution'

In his determination following the FAI, Sheriff Kelly said the cause of Mr Davidson's death was a severe head injury sustained in the fall.

The sheriff said leaving some of the silage uncovered may have broken the farmer's fall.

He said: "The simplest precaution would be a practice whereby the sheets were pulled back while there remained at least 6ft of silage uncovered.

"If that were implemented, even if a person were to fall over, there would be 6ft of silage left to fall upon, much reducing and hopefully eliminating the risk of falling over the edge."

The farmer's son Alistair, a partner in the family agricultural firm, had described to the inquiry in Dumfries how they had both been working at the top of the pile when his father's feet became entangled and he went over the edge falling onto the ground.

Health and Safety Executive inspector Lesley Hammond, in evidence, agreed that the method adopted in pulling back the sheets was common practice in the industry and provided a number of suggestions as to how the sheets could be removed from the top of the silage in a safer manner.

But Sheriff Kelly pointed out that one suggestion involving ropes was untested and could present a tripping hazard and another involving the use of a hook or crooks might result in ripping the sheets and also pose a tripping hazard.

He said: "Neither could therefore be advanced as reasonable precautions whereby the death might have been avoided without further testing as to their efficacy."

He did add that a reasonable precaution whereby the death might have been avoided would have been that of keeping a safe distance from the edge of the silage pile.

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    Here are our favourites.

     
  63.  
    07:12: Inequality speech

    Tackling inequality would generate £1,600 more per head of population, according to the Scottish government.

    Nicola Sturgeon

    In a speech later, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will highlight new analysis of research by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

    Ms Sturgeon will argue that policies which are fair and equal will lead to greater prosperity.

    The UK government insists its austerity policies have led to record employment levels in Scotland.

     
  64.  
    @BBCTravelScot Jack-knifed lorry BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Westbound #M8 - a jack-knifed lorry - one lane is closed at J4a Heartlands - between the slips... slow and wintry.

     
  65.  
    07:06: Stabbing near school

    A teenager has been arrested in connection with an alleged serious assault outside a school in the southside of Glasgow.

    Holyrood Secondary

    Two 14-year-old boys were injured in the incident which happened close to Holyrood Secondary at about 13:20.

    It is understood the boys were stabbed. One was taken to the Victoria Infirmary and the other did not require hospital treatment.

    Police Scotland said a 15-year-old boy had been arrested.

     
  66.  
    @BBCScotWeather 'More wintry' showers' BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Morning, Gillian here. Ice risk this A.M. more wintry showers to come, especially in the West. Turning to rain/sleet at low levels later. Windy, 5C.

     
  67.  
    07:02: Tributes to Scotland legend

    Tributes have been paid to Scotland legend Dave Mackay who has died, aged 80.

    The Edinburgh-born midfielder won 10 major honours as a player in British and European football, starring for Hearts, Tottenham and Derby County.

    The late Scotland and Hearts midfielder Dave Mackay

    He also won 22 caps for his country and was named 'Footballer of the Year' in both Scotland and England.

    Hearts described Mackay as "a fearless defender regarded as the club's greatest-ever player, Dave won the league title, Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup (twice) with Hearts before going on to star for Tottenham Hotspur and Derby County".

    The Edinburgh club also quoted the late midfielder as saying: "For as long as I can remember, all I wanted in my life, nothing else, was to play for Hearts, which is my dream team. And to play for Scotland - I had no ambition for anything else. Always Hearts."

     
  68.  
    07:00: Good morning Graham Fraser BBC Scotland

    Rise and shine! Welcome to Tuesday's edition of Scotland Live. We will bring you all the latest news and sport throughout the day, with a little weather and travel mixed in.

    You can get involved with the big stories by emailing us your opinions at newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk

     

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