Lost leg leads to large fine for Staffordshire contractor

by Direct 2 Lawyers on June 5, 2013

A Staffordshire contractor has been heavily fined after a worker was severely injured by a cement mixer last year.

A Staffordshire contractor has been found guilty of a breach of health and safety law and heavily fined after one of the workers he was responsible for injured his leg so badly in September 2012 that it had to be removed below the knee.

The incident occurred on 13 September 2012 when Mr Colin Boon, 55, was supervising a number of workers in his road work gang. The gang was sealing a pavement in Stoke-on-Trent when a 36-year-old worker climbed from a flat-bed lorry and slipped. As he slipped he put his left leg down to prevent himself from falling over but his leg went into the unguarded entrance of the cement mixer. This resulted in the paddles of the mixer injuring his leg to such a degree that it had to be amputated below the knee in hospital.

The Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”) subsequently investigated and found that there were sufficient grounds for recommending that Mr Boon be prosecuted for a breach of statutory duty.

The case came to the Staffordshire Magistrates Court on 29 May 2013. The court heard that the guard that was previously in place over the mixer had been removed the day before the accident occurred and had not been replaced. This resulted in the worker incurring the injury that he did.

Mr Boon was charged with breaching s.3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, namely that he had failed to conduct his undertaking in such a way that it ensured, so far as was reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

The Staffordshire Magistrates Court found Mr Boon guilty of the statutory  breach after he had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing. It fined him £6,700 and ordered him to pay £8,000 in costs.

Marc Hadrill, a solicitor at Redmans employment solicitors, commented after the verdict that “it is extremely important that employers comply with health and safety legislation as it not only avoids an expensive and time-consuming court case but – more importantly – means that they are protecting the health and welfare of their workers and other parties so far as is reasonably practicable.”

It is not currently known whether the anonymous worker has instructed personal injury solicitors to pursue his claim or not.

An HSE inspector, Mr Alistair Choudhury, commented that “this was an entirely preventable incident and a young man has sustained an injury which will have a huge impact on the rest of his life. Colin Boon failed in his duties to these workers. He was aware that the guard had been removed and took no action to prevent the use of the machine on 13 September 2012.

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