Brewery fined after workplace accident results in serious injuries

by Redmans Solicitors on July 9, 2013

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A brewery in the south of England has been fined after a workplace accident resulted in an employee losing two fingers.

A 32-year-old worker – who does not wish to be named for personal reasons – lost two fingers in a workplace accident last year after the brewery he worked for failed to put in place basic health and safety measures.

The worker was attempting to clear a blockage in one of the grain dust extractors at the Hall and Woodhouse Brewery in Dorset on 27 August 2012 when the accident occurred.  He reached into the funnel to extract the blockage but inadvertently touched the rotary blades, which were still running. This resulted in his middle and index fingers on his right hand being severed.

The Health and Safety Executive was subsequently notified of the accident and an investigation was instigated. This investigation recommended that a prosecution be commenced against Hall & Woodhouse Ltd.

The matter came before the Bournemouth Magistrates Court this month. The company pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was, as a result, fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs.

It’s not currently know whether the 32-year-old worker is intending to claim personal injury against his employer. He has had to have five operations on his hand since the accident and has only just been able to return to work full-time.

Marc Hadrill, a personal injury solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Basic health and safety measures being implemented in the workplace can prevent accidents occurring. Employers should be mindful of their obligations to their employees and third parties to take reasonably practicable steps to prevent harm to those persons’ safety and/or welfare”.

HSE inspector Ms Fiona Coffey also commented after the prosecution that: “This was an incident that could have easily been prevented by carrying out a suitable assessment of the risks presented by the new location of the extractor. This would have identified the need for guarding to prevent access to the dangerous rotary valve within the chute.”

Redmans Solicitors are employment law solicitors offering employment law advice in London

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