An accident at work in which a worker lost the top of his thumb could have been prevented if the employer had put in place adequate control measures, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said.
The 40-year-old man from Bedfordshire, who does not wish to be named, was delivering waste material for Totternhoe Metal Recycling Limited (TMR) when the incident happened on 24 April 2014.
No control measures
The worker was delivering waste metal to The Recycling Centre, The Lime Works, in Totternhoe, Luton Magistrates’ Court heard.
He had parked the van and was unloading the material when the counterbalance on a wheeled crane used for unloading metal hit the rear door and caught the man’s left hand.
An investigation found TMR failed to put in place control measures to ensure adequate segregation of vehicles and pedestrians, despite having identified and acted upon this issue at another site.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined a total of £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,889.60 as well as a victim surcharge of £120.
The accident rate in the waste and recycling industry remains one of the highest in any industry. Like in this case, a large number of the accidents relate to contact between vehicles and pedestrians.
The worker needed skin grafts to his thumb and surgery to repair the damage to his forearm, followed by months of physiotherapy. He is still unable to use his thumb or grip anything with his left hand.
The HSE warned it would not hesitate to take enforcement action against employers who fall short of industry standards.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: August 2, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown