Angle Grinder Incident Leads To HSE Prosecution

Sam Ashford Suffered Serious Injuries After The Accident

24.12.2013

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has successfully prosecuted a landscaping firm after one of its workers was injured by an angle grinder.

Sheffield Magistrates' Court was told that Sam Ashford, 27, a local landscape gardener, was asked by his employer to use the saw tool to cut into a stone block as part of a project at a property in the south Yorkshire city on August 9th 2011.

However, as he did this, the angle grinder kicked back and because it did not have the proper guarding requirements in place, it sliced his leg - causing blood to gush out.

The man was rushed to hospital and needed 12 stitches in the wound, requiring him to take months off work. He has since been able to return to employment, although not in the landscaping or construction industry.

After being informed of the incident, the HSE launched an immediate investigation as it is trying to stamp out the problem of poor guarding on dangerous equipment.

Inspectors concluded that Ecclesall Developments, the man's employer, failed to properly take Mr Ashford's health into consideration when it neglected to give him protective equipment and guarding on the angle grinder.

The HSE decided to prosecutor the firm and it admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in court, leading magistrates to hand down a fine of £8,000 and costs of £8,985.
Speaking after the trial had finished, HSE inspector John Dutton said: "The injuries suffered by Mr Ashford, whilst serious, could have been much worse.

"All companies can benefit their businesses and their employees by ensuring they consider how a task should be carried out, providing the correct equipment for the job and making sure workers are trained in their use.

"The incident was entirely avoidable had Ecclesall Developments adopted some simple solutions, such as providing suitable cutting equipment."

Officials from the HSE have pledged to continue their crackdown on poorly guarded equipment in the New Year.