Asons Solicitors Warn of Health and Safety Negligence after plant hire company worker killed.

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According to a report posted on the HSE website on 26, "A Portishead plant hire company has been fined for health and safety negligence after a worker was killed whilst operating a tarmac cutter in Box, Wiltshire."

Health and Safety Negligence

Health and Safety Negligence

The law clearly states that employers have a duty to ensure the health and safety of their employees.

According to the HSE Mr Stuart Guard died after becoming entangled in the cutting wheel of a machine designed to remove the top layers of tarmac on roads.(1)

According to a HSE Report on 30 July 2009, "Mr Guard was operating a trenching machine with a top cutter attachment. After completing the trench Mr Guard got down from the cab of the machine while the cutting wheel was still. He was entangled in the wheel, immediately suffering fatal injuries."(1)

The court heard a safety switch positioned under the operator’s seat to stop the engine and the cutting wheel when the seat was not occupied had been deliberately disabled. The HSE also found the safety switches on all three the machines owned by the firm had been removed.(1)

Commenting on the accident, Suzanne Yates, Legal Executive at Asons Solicitors stated that:

“These machines are fitted with safety switches for a reason. sending any of the company machines to sites with one operator and with the safety switches deliberately bypassed puts workers at risk of serious injury or death. This is an obvious case of health and safety negligence, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the victim’s family were to seek damages.”

The HSE investigation found that it was common practice for machine operators to check and change parts during and at the end of each job. Although the firm was aware that checking the parts was a two-man job, it routinely hired out the top cutter with only one worker. Checking the parts by a sole operator was quicker if the worker could leave his seat and observe the slowly rotating raised wheel. Machine operators who are injured as a direct result of this negligence could be entitled to health and safety compensation. (1)

South and West Highways Trenching, of Old Mill Road, Portishead, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and three breaches of Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 in relation to the incident. The company was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £56,890 in costs. (1)

Helena Tinton, an HSE inspector, speaking after the prosecution, said:
"South and West Highways Trenching paid scant regard to the welfare of its employees and took dangerous shortcuts in its attitude toward safety. The company’s safety failings had disastrous consequences for Mr Guard. (1)

"The law clearly states that employers have a duty to ensure the health and safety of their employees, which includes ensuring machinery and systems of work are safe.” (1)

(1)    Plant hire company fined after worked killed - http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2013/rnn-sw-direct-plant-services.htm?eban=rss-press-release – HSE April 2013

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About Asons Solicitors:
Asons Solicitors is a Bolton-based law practice that specialises in personal injury and industrial disease claims. Founded by brothers Imran Akram and Kamran Akram, Asons Solicitors has developed to become a young and dynamic law firm that delivers practical solutions to clients in times of difficulty. Their continued focus on their staff has seen them awarded with the Investors in People “Gold Award”; which is reflected in the professional and personable approach they take in working with clients. They strive to grow and to develop, and their supportiveness and attention to detail ensures that their clients use them time and again.

For further information contact:
Email: info@asons.co.uk
Website: http://www.asons.co.uk

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