A housing trust based on Tameside has been fined following an incident in which a worker suffered serious injuries to his left hand as it was struck by the metal blade of a lawn mower. The young man suffered numerous broken bones and the amputation of his thumb and forefinger was needed.
The worker was using a ride-on lawn mower when the chute of the grass box that was attached became blocked. Manchester Crown Court heard that this blockage occurred often as the grass being mown was long and wet. In order to clear the blockage, the worker reached into the chute with his left hand which came into contact with a rotating metal fan.
As a result of this, the worker (who wishes not to be named) suffered serious injuries and has since been unable to use his remaining fingers or grip with his left hand.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that New Charter Housing Trust had failed to provide the worker with professional training or to give precise instructions on the actions to take if the machine became blocked. The HSE’s investigation also highlighted that the trust had failed to take into account the risks of carrying out the work.
The court heard that as well as receiving a lack of training, the worker was not aware that the metal fan continued to rotate for around 30 seconds after the engine was turned off.
Sentencing & Fines
New Charter Housing Trust, of Cavendish Street in Ashton-under-Lyne was found guilty of a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The Trust was fined a total of £140,000 and ordered to pay £70,000 in prosecution costs.
HSE Inspector Sarah Taylor said after the hearing:
“A young worker has suffered injuries that will affect him for the rest of his life but they could easily have been avoided. New Charter Housing Trust should have planned the work properly and provided appropriate training, so workers knew to wait for the fan to stop.”
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Source: Health & Safety Executive