Six-Figure Fine for Workplace Accident

July 19th, 2016 | By injuryclaims

The London Borough of Havering have been issued with a £500,000 for failings that lead to the injury of an employee.

On the 2nd March 2015, George Ball was cutting overgrown branches and tree roots for the Borough of Havering council in London. To do this, he was provided with a Sthil cut-off saw, though the blade he was also provided with was not fit for purpose and incompatible with its handle.

When George attempted to saw off a root, the blade quickly became stuck and as he tried to free it he seriously cut his knee. The wound required around sixty stitches and damaged both the ligaments and the cartilage of the joint. The accident prompted an investigation by the Health and Safety Executives, which found that the council did not perform appropriate risk assessment for the exact combination of saw and blade that he was using.

The HSE prosecuted the London Borough of Havering for breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment 1998. The hearing was conducted at the Southwark Crown Court earlier this month, where witnesses testified that, though George had been working for the council for over nineteen years, he had never been required to read a safety manual for any of the equipment that he was using. Vivek D’Cruz, a prosecutor at the hearing, commented that “It wasn’t until after the incident where he sustained the serious injury that he was shown a training video. This video specifically stated that the blade was not to be used on the saw.”

The council proceeded to plead guilty to the charges and were ordered to pay £500,000 in fines for their failings. In addition to this, they are required to pay £8,240 in protection costs.

However, since the announcement of the fine, it has become apparent that the council are considering appealing the decision as they believe that the fine is unduly large:“The fine was one of the first imposed on a local authority under new sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences, which have significantly increased the likely fines for all health and safety offences. However, the council still considers that the level of fine imposed is high in all the circumstances of the case, and is considering an appeal.”

 

Categories: Work Injury Claims


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