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Safety breaches land Sheffield company in court

20 December 2013

A Sheffield company has been prosecuted for safety failings after a worker was injured by an unguarded angle grinder.

Sam Ashford, 27, of Shiregreen, Sheffield, was using the angle grinder on a stone block while landscaping a domestic property on 9 August 2011 when it kicked back, hitting and slicing his right leg.

Mr Ashford, an employee of Ecclesall Developments Ltd, needed 12 stiches to the wound and was unable to work or carry out routine daily tasks for several months. He has since returned to work but not in the construction industry.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted the company for safety breaches at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court today (20 Dec).

HSE found the angle grinder did not have a guard attached to it, which left the blade completely exposed. Ecclesall Developments failed to check if Mr Ashford could use the tool correctly, or to give him suitable protective equipment.

Ecclesall Developments Ltd of Millhouses Lane, Sheffield, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £8,985 in costs after admitting a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector John Dutton said:

“The incident was entirely avoidable had Ecclesall Developments adopted some simple solutions, such as providing suitable cutting equipment and adequate training in safe cutting practices.

“Instead, no consideration was given by the company to how the task was to be carried out and no checks were made on the abilities of their employee in using an angle grinder.

“The injuries suffered by Mr Ashford, whilst serious, could have been much worse. All companies can benefit their businesses and their employees by ensuring they consider how a task should be carried out, providing the correct equipment for the job and making sure workers are trained in their use.”

For information and advice about safety using equipment and machinery, visit

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.
  2. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”



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