In April 2017, Justin Tinsley, who had been employed by Michael Toon for a few weeks, was working at the company’s yard in Poole where it processed and recycled builders’ waste and soil.
Tinsley was struggling to manoeuvre a telehandler, and it became stuck. With the engine running and the door blocked, he climbed out through the window to allow company director Toon to free the machine.
Poole Magistrates’ Court heard that the telehandler moved unexpectedly, crushing Tinsley between the machine and a gate post. He was in hospital unconscious for weeks and has not fully recovered from his injuries.
HSE investigators found Tinsley was being trained by Toon to drive the telehandler which had several serious long-term faults, some relating to braking.
Michael Toon was well aware of the unsafe condition of the telehandler yet allowed it to be used by an inexperienced employee
Toon pleaded guilty to breaching s.37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Under s.37, if an offence is committed by a company with the consent or connivance of a director, then the director will be guilty of that offence and can be proceeded against accordingly.
As well as the unpaid work he must carry out, he was also ordered to pay a fine of £1,500.
Speaking after sentencing, HSE inspector Ian Smart said: “Michael Toon was well aware of the unsafe condition of the telehandler yet allowed it to be used by an inexperienced employee.
“HSE promotes safe-stop procedures where drivers should apply the parking brake and turn off the ignition before exiting any mobile machinery.
“Justin [Tinsley] could not do this as the telehandler was in such poor mechanical condition.”