Council Fined For Workplace Accident

Workers Fingers Severed

03.06.2008

A council has been fined £75,000 for health and safety breaches which resulted in a worker's fingers being partially severed.

Medway Council was also ordered to pay £6,761 costs after pleading guilty to three breaches of health and safety legislation at Maidstone Crown Court.

The accident happened in September 2006 when Donald Brown, a green keeper who worked at Deangate Ridge Golf and Sports Complex, was trying to mend a tractor-drawn mower. A safety cut-out switch did not operate, and the tractor cylinder - which contained grass-cutting blades - started rotating, resulting in the partial amputation of the last two fingers of Mr Brown's right hand.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation showed that the seven-cylinder mower had no routine maintenance schedule, which would have made sure that critical safety features were operational. It found that a protective shield was missing, and the safety guard was damaged to such an extent as to render it useless.

"The council's failure to act on consultants' advice was a major contributory factor towards this incident." HSE inspector David Fussell said.

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David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "I welcome the fine imposed following this terrible industrial accident. Employers have a duty to provide workers with safe plant and equipment. This duty includes the duty to ensure work equipment is properly maintained.

"I would urge employers to strictly comply with their duties to ensure workers are protected from the risk of sustaining injuries through a work accident.

"I represent many people who have been injured or killed in workplace accidents."

Our serious injury claims team could help you claim compensation if you have suffered an injury at work that resulted in the amputation of a limb. Visit our Amputation Claims page or Accident at Work Claims page for more information.