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Council Fined For Lawnmower Fall

Man Injured In Work Accident


Cheltenham Borough Council has been fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in compensation after an employee fell from a ride-on lawnmower, breaking two ribs and suffering a compressed lung.

Cheltenham Magistrates' Court heard that the man was forced to stay off work for 11 weeks after sustaining the injuries. The court was also told that the council had failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment for the vehicle.

The Health and Safety Executive pointed out that the slope the employee had been working on was too steep for the machine he was using, adding that the worker had not received sufficient instruction on how to operate the machine. Magistrates were also told there had been previous incidents that should have made the council take action to improve safety.

The council pleaded guilty to breaches of the Health & Safety at Work Act and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

HSE inspector Alison Fry said: "This incident was entirely avoidable. This incident sends out a clear message to employers to ensure that they carry out risk assessment, taking all site conditions into account, including steepness of slopes, before deciding which equipment is suitable. They should provide appropriate training for employees - with adequate, instructions so that operators can work safely."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “I welcome the fine imposed following this accident at work.

“The case highlights the need for employers to assess the risks faced by workers in order to prevent injury or death following a work accident."