Multiple reasons led to death of Fife tractor driver, Fatal Accident Inquiry finds

A number of reasons contributed to the death of a Fife man who died when his tractor overturned on a road near Anstruther in 2017, a Fatal Accident Inquiry has found.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 10:47 am
Mr White died in 2017.

Malcolm White, a tractor driver at a Pittenweem farm, died on June 7, 2017, died when his Case CVX tractor overturned on the C62 road, between Ovenstone and Carnbee.

An FAI has found that the causes of the accident which resulted in Mr White’s death were that weights, being carried on the A frame at the front of the tractor, were not secured properly and fouled the wheels of the tractor. The tractor brakes were also not linked as they should have been, so when he tried to apply the brakes, only one of the brakes worked. The tractor then pivoted on that wheel, the weight of the crop sprayer trailer exacerbated the pivoting, and Mr White lost control of the vehicle.

The tractor then left the road and fell down an embankment towards a burn. Mr White was not wearing a seatbelt and suffered a heavy impact to his head – injuries which were fatal.

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Emergency services rushed to the incident, however, Mr White was pronounced dead at the scene.

The FAI stated that actions that could have been taken which could have meant Mr White’s death was avoided, include: the weights being attached properly, the brakes being maintained in proper working order, the tractor brakes could have been linked properly, and Mr White could have worn his seatbelt.

The FAI concludes: “I make no recommendations. Legislation already imposes duties on employers as to the maintenance of equipment, on those who use vehicles (which includes using them by the hand of another) as to the maintenance of vehicles and trailers in roadworthy condition and on drivers as to (i) the standard of care required of them (which would include matters such as the linking of tractor brakes) and (ii) the use of seat belts. No purpose would be served by recommendations that made the obvious point that the legislation ought to be obeyed.”

Mr White’s family described him as a “loving, caring and adoring husband, father, brother and son” in a tribute following his death.