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Farmer’s death was a “tragic and avoidable accident”

A sheriff has concluded that the death of a Rendall farmer earlier this year was a “tragic and avoidable accident”.

James Fraser, 46, died on January 3, at Gorn farm, when he became trapped in machinery while carrying out routine maintenance.

A Fatal Accident Inquiry inquiry into Mr Fraser’s death, held at Kirkwall Sheriff Court on Monday, June 6, heard that he had been oiling the inner workings of a Krone Baler at the time of the accident, when the tailgate unexpectedly closed before he could move out of the way.

In a determination released on Tuesday, Sheriff Napier said that had Mr Fraser used one of the hinged mechanical supports on the baler, known as “scotches”, the accident would not have occurred.

He concluded: “Had he recognised that if the hydraulic stop failed there was no secondary safety system in place, as he did when he was responsible for the safety of his younger son, then the accident would not have happened.”