An Edinburgh firm has been prosecuted for safety failings after a worker was severely injured and blinded in one eye when he was struck by a piece of high tensile wire.
The accident happened on 24th September 2012 when Declan Shipcott, 20, was working for Viridor Enviroscot Ltd at its Materials Recycling facility in Bargeddie, Glasgow. The incident took place when Declan was helping two colleagues clear a blockage on a machine.
When opening the machine some wire had become knotted but unable to use the knot he used wire cutters to cut it free. The wire then flicked out and struck him on the face but he wasn’t wearing eye protection at the time.
He was taken to hospital for emergency surgery to attempt to repair a cut which occurred to the cornea of his left eye. Later he attended Gartnavel Eye Clinic in Glasgow where he underwent further surgery but his detached retina was unable to be repaired. He was left in a significant amount of pain and ultimately blinded in one eye.
Failure to provide protective equipment
Airdrie Sheriff Court heard that the company had failed to distribute and ensure the use of personal protective equipment, such as safety glasses. Viridor Enviroscot pleaded guilty to breaching Health and Safety regulations.
It was also revealed that the company held a previous conviction for a similar offence and was fined £100,000 eight years earlier after two of their workers were injured in an incident in 2004.
Prosecutor Louise Beattie said “Protective glasses were available on site, but there was no risk assessment that required them to be used. Had they been used it would have prevented this tragic accident. The company exposed all of their employees to this danger over a three and a half year period, from when the machine was installed”.
The company was fined £165,000 which was reduced from £250,000 due to an early plea which saved Mr Shipcott the trauma of having to give evidence in front of a jury.
HSE inspector Aileen Jardine said after the case “The simple act of donning eye protection before working with high-tensile wire may well have prevented this incident taking place. Instead, his employer’s failings led to an incident which has had real life changing consequences for this young man.”
Claiming compensation for injuries at work
If you’ve suffered from an injury at work in any way that wasn’t your fault you could claim compensation for your injuries; from a permanent injury like the loss of sight through to broken bones.
To find out if you’re eligible for work injury compensation then call the specialist team at Accident Advice Helpline to find out more about the process and how much you could claim. You can reach them on 0800 689 0500.