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Housing trust fined after worker sustains life-changing injuries

New Charter Housing Trust has been fined £140,000 after a worker’s hand was struck by a ride-on mower’s blade and his thumb and forefinger had to be amputated.

An X-ray of the young worker’s damaged left hand
An X-ray of the young worker’s damaged left hand | Image credit: ©HSE

The 24-year-old from Stockport also sustained several broken bones in the accident on 28 March 2014.

On 7 January, Manchester Crown Court was told that the worker was driving a ride-on mower with a grass box attached. When the chute to the grass box became blocked with long, wet grass – as often happened – the employee reached in to clear it. His hand came into contact with the rotating metal fan and was seriously injured. He is now unable to grip with his left hand or use his remaining fingers.

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) investigation revealed that the worker had not received any training on how to use the mower and was not aware that the fan continued to turn for around 30 seconds after the engine had been switched off.

The Tameside housing trust, located in Ashton-under-Lyne, was found guilty of a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act and fined £140,000. It must also pay £70,000 in prosecution costs.

The HSE found that the company did not provide professional training or give clear instruction on what to do if the mowers became blocked.

“A young worker has suffered injuries that will affect him for the rest of his life but they could easily have been avoided,” HSE inspector Sarah Taylor said after the hearing. “New Charter Housing Trust should have planned the work properly and provided appropriate training so workers knew to wait for the fan to stop.” 

 

Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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