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  • Writer's pictureRobert Spicer

Bristol Health and Safety Prosecution

Bristol health and safety prosecution: £12,700 fine

Health and Safety Executive v Clear Channel UK Ltd (2012) Bristol magistrates’ court, August 20.

Clear Channel UK Ltd, an outdoor advertising company, has been fined after an employee’s hand was caught in a petrol-powered lawnmower.

Significant points of the case

  • In August 2011 a maintenance worker, who wishes to remain anonymous, employed by Clear Channel, was working at a billboard site in Bath Road, Bristol.

  • He tried to clear a blockage from a petrol-powered mower which he was operating. He thought that the mower had been turned off. As he tried to remove the blockage, the mower’s blade started to rotate. His thumb was almost severed and his fingers were severely injured.

  • A 14 hour surgical procedure was needed to reattach his thumb and repair the damaged fingers.

  • A safety feature which cuts out the engine of the mower and stops the blades rotating was not working properly.

  • Clear Channel did not have an effective reporting and maintenance system for reporting faults in equipment. It had allowed a lawnmower which was not in good repair or efficient working order to be used by its employees.

The company was fined £12,700 plus £13,000 costs for a breach of regulation 5 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).

A spokesperson for the HSE commented that the company had failed to take the necessary steps to protect its employees from harm through the use of non-maintained or ill-maintained equipment. These failures led to serious injury to an employee who has only been able to return to work in the last couple of months.

Regulation 5 of PUWER states that every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good order.

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