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'Lax attitude to safety' lands campsite boss in court

A caravan park owner has been prosecuted after a teenage employee cut off three of his fingers when they were pulled into an unguarded table saw.

The table saw without the safety guard. Image credit | Gwynedd Council

Cheshire Magistrates’ Court was told that on 24 January 2018, Cai Owen was working as a groundsman at Bryn Gloch Caravan and Camping Park located at Betws Garmon near Waunfawr.

While cutting fence posts, the 19-year-old’s hand was pulled into an unguarded table saw he was using. This resulted in the complete amputation of the thumb, index and middle finger and fracture of the little finger of one hand.

Gwynedd Council investigated, with the assistance of the Health and Safety Executive, and found that a safety guard supplied with the saw had been removed by caravan park boss Eurig Jones at the request of another employee to carry out an earlier job.

Officers uncovered a number of serious offences and consequently Jones was prosecuted by the council.

The site owner admitted the following health and safety offences:

  • failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all employees;
  • failing to undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the health and safety risks employees are exposed to; and
  • removing a safety guard, which was an effective means of preventing access to a dangerous part of a machine.

As well as the fine, magistrates ordered 52-year-old Jones to pay costs of £15,000.

Councillor Gareth Griffith, Gwynedd Council cabinet member for environment, said: “This conviction and penalty highlights the importance of taking steps to protect the health and safety of employees. All businesses need to take heed and learn from this case.

“Simple steps like carrying out adequate risk assessments, proper training and ensuring that dangerous equipment is properly maintained and guarded will help prevent similar accidents happening again.

“Gwynedd Council will always seek to take appropriate enforcement action when there is a blatant disregard for health and safety law.”

Alun Evans, public protection manager at Gwynedd Council, added: “Bryn Gloch Caravan and Camping Park’s lax attitude towards employee health and safety resulted in a wholly preventable accident which has had life changing consequences for an employee.

“All businesses should ensure they fully comply with health and safety legislation so that accidents do not occur. We are grateful to Cai and his family for their patience in what has been a long and at times complex investigation."

 

 

 

Kellie is a freelance writer and former online editor of the Health and Safety at Work website.

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