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County Durham firm in court after worker loses leg

Date:
15 April 2014

An agency worker was left with life-changing injuries when his leg had to be amputated after he was crushed between a moving vehicle and a water tank.

The 32-year-old from Great Ayton, North Yorkshire, was trapped for almost an hour before being freed by emergency services at the premises of Con Mech Engineers Ltd in Stanley, County Durham, on 26 January 2012.

The worker was in hospital for a month. His right leg had to be amputated below the knee, and then later above the knee, while his left leg also suffered a fractured femur and severe crush injuries.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which yesterday (14 April) prosecuted Con Mech Engineers Ltd at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court for serious safety failings.

The court heard the agency worker was employed by Con Mech Engineers Ltd at its premises on the Harelaw Industrial Estate, Annfield Plain, Stanley.

He had been working in the heat treatment process area when he was struck by a vehicle similar to a fork-lift truck and pinned by his legs against a water tank.

HSE found that Con Mech Engineers Ltd had failed to assess and identify the risk posed to workers from contact with the dangerous moving vehicle, which runs on a fixed track transporting heavy components. As a consequence, it had failed to provide effective measures to prevent any contact.

Con Mech Engineers Ltd, of Harelaw Industrial Estate, Annfield Plain, Stanley, was fined a total of £20,000 (£10,000 for each offence) and ordered to pay £8,045 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Cain Mitchell, said:

“This incident could have been easily prevented if Con Mech Engineers Ltd had identified the risks and then provided suitable measures to make sure workers did not come into contact with the moving machinery.

“By failing to introduce simple precautions, a worker has suffered serious, life-changing injuries.”

For more health and safety advice for those working in the manufacturing industry visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/manufacturing/index.htm

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. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work 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.’
  3. Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: ‘It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.’
  4. Further HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press

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