Contractor fined after employee’s leg is amputated in accident at work
A Staffordshire contractor has been fined after an employee had to have his lower leg amputated in an accident at work after he slipped into an unguarded slurry mixer on 13th September 2012.
Colin Boon, from Stoke-on-Trent, was in charge of a gang of road workers sealing a pavement on Wilson Road, Hanford, Stoke-on-Trent when the serious accident occurred.
The employee, a 36-year-old worker from Stoke-on-Trent, slipped as he climbed from a flat-bed lorry which was next to the mixer.
As he put his left leg down to steady himself, it went through the unguarded opening of the mixer. The moving paddles in the mixer severely injured his lower left leg, resulting in amputation below the knee.
The Health and Safety Executive carried out an investigation following the accident and found the guard over the rotating paddles in the petrol-powered mixer had been removed the day before the incident and not replaced.
The employee was in hospital for two weeks. He returned to work for the same employer, but has since moved job because of difficulties with mobility following his amputation.
Colin Boon pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £6,700 and ordered to pay £8,000 in costs.
Health and Safety Executive Inspector Alastair Choudhury said following the hearing:
“This was an entirely preventable incident and a young man has sustained an injury that will have a huge impact on the rest of his life. Colin Boon failed in his duties to these workers. He was aware the guard had been removed and took no action to prevent use of the machine on the 13 September 2013.
“Guarding on machinery is there for a reason – to prevent people getting hurt. If it is removed, absent or defective, employers are putting employees and others at risk of injury or death. No commercial pressure to take these risks is justified and the potential costs of incidents far outweigh any savings in time or money.
“The mixer should not have been used once the guard had been removed.
“This incident could have resulted in even more serious injuries and today’s sentence sends a message to all employers to carry out work safely. HSE will not hesitate to take action against employers who fail to ensure the health and safety of workers.”
We have a specialist team of solicitors at Bolt Burdon Kemp who deal with serious injury claims. If you have been involved in an accident at work which resulted in serious injury, including amputation, please contact one of our experienced personal injury solicitors free on 0808 1596 079.