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Council fined after worker has arm severed in wood chipper

Durham County Council has been successfully prosecuted for health and safety failings after one of its grounds-men had his left arm severed in a wood chipper machine.

The 25-year-old council worker was cutting back bushes and feeding the trimmings into a mobile wood chipper. His glove and/or his high-visibility vest became entangled in the trimmings, and his left arm was pulled into the machine. His colleagues managed to shut off the power but by that time his arm had been cut off at the shoulder. He was airlifted to hospital but surgeons were unable to save any part of his arm. He has found life extremely difficult as a result of the accident and continues to suffer both mentally and physically.

The use of wood chippers is a well-documented hazard but the risk assessment carried out by Durham County Council had failed to take it into consideration , they failed to follow published guidance on the control measures required. They were fined £13,000 and ordered to pay £8,212.50 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Treework, which includes the use of wood chippers, is a high risk industry in which between April 2006 and March 2011, there were 15 fatalities and more than 80 incidents involving major injuries.

If you have suffered a similar accident and would like advice about making a personal injury claim, please contact us on our free phone number 0808 1596 080 or email us.

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