Over £400,000 in Fines and Costs After Worker Lost Arm


3 mins

Posted on 01 Apr 2015

Three construction firms have been ordered to pay over £400,000 in fines and costs for serious safety failings, after a worker lost his arm when it became trapped in poorly-guarded machinery during a road surfacing.

The 53-year old road worker was preparing a chip spreader – a machine used to scatter stone chips on asphalt – for resurfacing works on the A1001 in Hatfield when his left arm became caught in the machine’s rotating auger, causing serious injuries.

The highly-experienced worker had to have his arm amputated shortly after the incident and has been unable to return to work since.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive which prosecuted Amey LG Ltd, Lafarge Aggregates Ltd (acting as Amey Lafarge, a joint venture in charge of the operation) and Ashmac Construction Ltd (who provided workers to the joint venture) for multiple safety breaches at Watford Magistrates’ Court.

HSE’s investigation revealed a series of safety failings on the part of all three companies.

It found that the worker, who was not formally trained in the use of the spreader, and his colleagues were only given one evening to familiarise themselves with the machine by Amey Lafarge when they started work on site six months before the incident. It did not give the workers any instruction or training in how to operate the machine safely, including how to secure guards, nor were they given a copy of the operator’s manual for the machine. In addition, there was no safe system of work in place to ensure that the machine was set up and operated properly and that its use was restricted to those who were trained.

Amey Lafarge did have a risk assessment and a site-specific method statement but these did not reflect the reality of the controls in place for the use of the chip spreader. Indeed, the risk assessment described a different type of chip spreader than the one used on site.

The HSE found that Ashmac Construction Ltd did not take reasonably practicable steps to ensure workers that it placed on site had received appropriate information, instruction and training in the safe use of the chipper they were operating.

Amey LG Ltd was fined £150,015 and ordered to pay costs of £18,000 after pleading guilty to one breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Lafarge Aggregates Ltd was fined £175,015 and ordered to pay costs of £18,000 after pleading guilty to one breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Ashmac Construction Ltd was fined £30,015 and ordered to pay costs of £18,000 after pleading guilty to a breach of section 3(1) the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Ensure all workers receive suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training on the operation of machinery 
  • Ensure that a suitable and sufficient assessment of the specific risks that operators are potentially exposed to whilst working are assessed and controls put in place.

More information about safety around work equipment and machinery visit can be found on the HSE website.

Doyle Clayton can support your business with providing health and safety advice, support and development of risk assessments. Please contact Sally Beck for further information.

The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.