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Worker Allegedly Offered Cash by Employer after Losing Thumb

An employee at Chris Hazel Haulage suffered serious injuries to his forearm, wrist, hand and thumb whilst manning a machine at work.


John Bagley broke his forearm, shattered his wrist and fingers and lost his thumb after his overalls got caught in a shot blasting machine. Mr Bagley also suffered a hairline fracture to his right arm during the incident on March 4th 2014.

According to Mr Bagley, the guard covering the machine’s chain was not in place and had not been in place for a while before the incident took place. However, Mr Bagley said he did not think the machine was running to begin with.

Mr Bagley told Shrewsbury Crown Court that he received no training for using the machine and that the firm’s owner, Chris Hazel, implored him not to admit that the machine’s guard wasn’t in place. Mr Bagley also accused Mr Hazel of offering his a cash sum as compensation and to keep quiet.

Charges Denied & Alleged Bribe

The Health and Safety Executive is prosecuting Mr Hazel in relation to the incident. However, Mr Hazel denies that he failed to follow Health & Safety Regulations and he also denies failing to comply with work equipment regulations.

Describing to the court how Mr Hazel pleaded for him not to disclose that the safety guard was missing, Mr Begley said:

“Mr Hazel said you have to tell them the guard was on or it would finish me.

“There was about a 10 to 15 minute wait before the paramedics arrived and when they did Hazel’s wife Clair was behind me supporting my back.

“When the paramedics asked me what happened I was hesitant but Clair nudged me so I told them the guard was on the machine because Chris (Hazel) wanted me to say it. I was uncomfortable with Clair behind my back nudging me.

“The paramedics then came to relieve Clair so then when I was just with them I was more comfortable and then I explained to them what had actually happened – that the guard was off the machine but that was what they wanted me to tell them.”

Mr Begley went on to say that Mr Hazel offered him a cash sum of £2000 for the loss of his thumb, not long after he had returned home from hospital.

The trial continues at Shrewsbury Crown Court this week.

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Source: Shropshire Star

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