A MAJOR farming auction firm has been fined £30,000 following the death of a worker in a quad bike accident.

Allan Frame was found dead on Bonnington Farm in Lanark on September 17, 2012, after bosses at Lawrie and Symington (L&S) failed to provide him with proper training.

A neighbour fought to save the 41-year-old farm manager but was unable to lift up the all terrain vehicle (ATV).

An air ambulance was called to the scene but Mr Frame was pronounced dead minutes after paramedics arrived.

At Lanark Sheriff Court yesterday, L&S pleaded guilty to a breach of health and safety legislation, namely failing to ensure that Mr Frame was "adequately trained".

Prosecutor Selena Brown said Mr Frame had been with his wife Lea at around 4pm on the day of the accident before heading out on the quad bike.

Mrs Frame, who was in court for the hearing, wept as the details of her husband's death were revealed.

Ms Brown said: "At approximately 5.45pm the neighbours Mr and Mrs Dickson whose property overlooks the farm noted a light within the fields.

"They were concerned as they knew Mr Frame would not normally be out on the fields at that time of night.

"This prompted Mr Dickson to go out on to the farm land to ascertain the situation.

"As he walked he shouted Mr Frame's name. At some point he heard an engine running fast as if the accelerator was stuck open.

"Mr Dickson couldn't see Mr Frame from where he was at the top of the hill, however as he walked down the hill he saw a wellington boot sticking out from under the ATV.

"He turned the engine off and made contact with the emergency services.

"Mr Dickson remained at the scene and attempted to lift the vehicle off of Mr Frame but was unable to do so."

The court heard that L&S, which operates livestock auction sites at Lanark and Forfar, had instructed NFU Mutual to provide it with health and safety advice from 2010.

Health and Safety adviser Iain Jamieson carried out a risk assessment at the farm in July 2011 with Mr Frame present.

Ms Brown said: "During the course of the inspection, Mr Jamieson asked Mr Frame if he had been trained to use the ATV.

"Mr Frame stated he had received training years ago but when asked by Mr Jamieson if he had the certificate to confirm this, Mr Frame said 'no chance', 'I might have it somewhere but don't ask me where'."

The prosecutor added: "Although the risk assessment produced by NFU Mutual indicated that Alan Frame had received training on the use of the ATV, certification was never produced or sought which would have confirmed this position by either NFU Mutual or Lawrie and Symington."

Two reports produced conflicting details of how the incident happened, with one claiming that the ATV rolled over, trapping Mr Frame underneath, and the other saying it is likely that Mr Frame was thrown from the quad which then ran over the top of him.

The reports also showed that the quad's tyres were heavily overinflated.

Sheriff Nicola Stewart fined the firm £45,000 but reduced this to £30,000 in light of an early guilty plea.

She said: "The breach which Lawrie and Symington have pleaded guilty to is a very serious one as it is accepted by all involved that it did have linkage to the tragic death of Mr Frame.

"Given that no training was provided, the company clearly fell short of the acceptable standards.

"However, I accept that L&S have a previously unblemished history, they have fully cooperated with the HSE investigation and have moved swiftly to put in place systems to address deficiencies in their training programme."

Solicitor advocate Vikki Watt, representing Lawrie and Symington, said the firm was "long established" with a 200 year history in the Lanark area and operated more as a co-operative than a business.

She also made clear that the firm is struggling financially, saying: "This is an industry under threat and the company continues to operate under very difficult trading conditions."