A groundworks firm has been fined £32,000 over safety failings after a worker lost a leg when he was crushed while carrying out work on a wind farm.
Gregor Steele, 20, from Perthshire, had to have his left leg amputated due to the severe injuries he suffered in the work accident, when he became trapped between a tractor and the bucket of a loading shovel during the construction of Griffin Wind Farm in Perth and Kinross on September 3, 2011.
Worker given prosthetic limb
Perth Sheriff Court heard on Thursday how Mr Steele, a Gallagher Groundworks employee since he left school, had to be transported by air to hospital after the accident at work.
He had two operations but surgeons could not save his leg and it had to be removed above the knee. He could not work for two years, but is now back at the firm using an automatic tractor after he was fitted with a prosthetic limb.
The Health And Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the Crieff-based company after its investigation found it had not made a suitable risk assessment of the work, nor used appropriate machinery for it. It was poorly maintained and the company had not made sure safety equipment was working properly, the court was told.
Parking brake removed before incident
The court heard how Mr Steele moved the tractor carrying a heavy water bowser and applied the handbrake before he suffered his work injury.
He could not use a parking brake as a company mechanic had disabled it five months earlier. The tractor was pulled back by the weight of the bowser while Mr Steele was stood between the tractor and the loading shovel, pinning him between them.
The HSE said Gallagher Groundworks had not ensured the tractor was able to tow the bowser safely, nor had it made sure the parking lock was working. A full bowser is estimated to weigh 12 tonnes, much more than the maximum three-tonne towable mass of the tractor.
It also found that the drum brakes on the tractor were in a poor condition and could not be fitted because of a missing hose.
Gallagher Groundworks of The Yard, Commissioner Street, Crieff, was fined after it admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
If you have had an accident at work and you think you are entitled to compensation, contact Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone for free, no-obligation advice about making a claim.