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Firm Fined After Boy Loses Thumb

Work Accident


A employer has been fined £4,400 after a 16-year-old boy lost his thumb when it became trapped in a potato grading machine.

William Culloch was working for Lumgair Brothers at Gask Farm near Forfar when he pulled a conveyor belt containing potatoes to restart it. His glove and thumb were caught in an unguarded chain and sprocket drive.

Lumgair Brothers pleaded guilty to a charge under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and were fined £4,000.

Section 2(1) requires employers to ensure, the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees and the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health.

The firm was also fined £400 after admitting to breaching the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, regulation 3 (4) for failing to carry out a young person's risk assessment for the tasks the teenager had to carry out as an employee.

The court heard how the machine had been operating without a guard for about six months.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "Young people are at a greater risk of suffering injury in a work accident given their age and lack of experience.

"It is therefore essential that young people are well trained and provided with a system of work suitable for their level of experience.

"All too often I represent young workers who have been injured following an industrial accident, in circumstance where better training could have avoided the work accident."