Groundworks firm fined after guard loses fingers

11 September 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Image: HSE

A groundworks firm has been fined £10,000 after a security guard lost his fingers when his hand became trapped in machinery belonging to the company.

Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard how on 17 November 2017 on a site on Ableton Lane in Avonmouth, a plant driver employed by APK Earthmoving requested the help of the security guard, who was working for a separate company, to remove a trailer from a bulldozer while the machine was operated by the driver. The security guard’s right hand was trapped between a metal post and the bulldozer resulting in the amputation of his middle and ring fingers, and loss of movement in his index finger of his right hand.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that APK Earthmoving had failed to conduct its undertaking, the hire of mobile plant and driver services, in such a way that people not in its employment were exposed to risks to their safety.

APK Earthmoving Limited of Oxfordshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1297.00.

The injured person said: “I was off work for seven months and I still have a lot of pain in my hand.  As I am right-handed my injuries have affected my writing, and there are many tasks at work and at home that I need help with.  I tend to keep my hand in my pocket because I’m concerned it will affect people if they see my injuries.”

HSE inspector Berenice Ray said: “This injury could have been easily prevented if a safe system of work had been followed, with the bulldozer ignition turned off before anyone was allowed close to remove the trailer.

“Employers should make sure they properly assess risks and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from their machinery operations.”

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