Company fined after two lose hands in separate incidents

Hand amputated following accident

11.12.2006

Ignoring the HSE over selling a potentially dangerous grass collecting product caused two people to have a hand amputated, resulting in the company being fined £175,000 with costs of £21,894.

Kubota UK the Agricultural machinery firm was warned by in June 1999 by the HSE that its bladed grass collector had injured someone, the HSE suggested improvements to the product. But, the company continued to supply the product unchanged until it was forced to stop in May 2004.

Because of the company's failure to act on the HSE's warning two people lost the use of their left hands.

Part of hand amputated

Roger Adams in 2003 had to have his hand amputated at the wrist after operating the machine.

Stephen Sandham in 2004, had to have his right thumb, middle finger and index fingers amputated along with a substantial part of his hand.

The accidents happened because of a defect which meant the user could put their hand into the grass collector, while the blades were still rotating. in 1999 the HSE had suggested simple modifications that would have prevented access to the rotating turbine.

Unsafe machinery

An investigation found that the machines were not safe and did not comply with the European Machinery Directive, even though the company had placed a CE mark on the equipment.

Kubota UK Ltd was charged with three offences under Section 6 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 for supplying articles for use at work that are unsafe. Judge Bruce McIntyre, sentencing the firm, said the failure to act had life-changing consequences for the machines victims.
He said:

"The risk of injury to respective victims was obvious, foreseeable and continuing over a prolonged period.

"It seems to me that there can be no doubt that the defendant could and should have taken steps which they took to protect operators in 2004 in 1999 and if they had done then the accidents would not have occurred."

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