Work accident news
Cumbria company prosecuted following injury
A Cumbria-based building maintenance firm has been fined following an accident at work in which a worker lost one of his legs.
The 62-year-old worker was escorting a cherry picker on foot in May 2011 to help navigate it along a one-way road when the vehicle struck him. He was rushed to hospital and his left leg had to be amputated above the knee.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed that there was no safe system of work for the task and staff had not received the relevant training. The only safety advice the company offered was for workers to wear high visibility clothing.
The investigation showed that the workers had escorted cherry pickers on foot at least 14 times before the worker sustained the personal injury.
Following a hearing at Carlisle Crown Court an HSE inspector said, "It is questionable whether [the company] actually needed a member of staff on foot to direct the cherry picker, given that it was travelling forwards along a road in a one-way system.
"But if the risk assessment decided someone was needed to escort the vehicle then a safe system of work needed to be devised. Employees should also have been given appropriate training, including how to communicate effectively with the driver."
The company pleaded guilty to Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £65,000 for the accident at work.