A building maintenance firm has been fined £65,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,162 after one of its employees had their leg crushed by a cherry picker at a nuclear site in Cumbria.
Ken Brown, 62, was directing the vehicle along a one-way road at the Windscale site when it struck him on 5 May 2011. Mr Brown was taken to hospital where doctors had to amputate his leg above the knee.
His employer, Johnson Controls Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found there had not been a safe system of work for the task and relevant training had not been provided. The only advice the company gave to its employees when directing cherry pickers was to wear a high visibility waistcoat. No specific training was provided for the task.
Johnson Controls Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of employees.
Speaking after the hearing, the investigating inspector at HSE, Faye Wingfield, said, “Kenneth Brown has suffered a terrible injury that will affect him for the rest of his life due to failings of his employer. Vehicles continue to be a major cause of serious injuries in the workplace, and the first principle of any employer should be to keep people and vehicles apart.”
She continued, “It is questionable whether Johnson Controls actually needed a member of staff on foot to direct the cherry picker, given that it was travelling forwards along a road in a one-way system. But if the risk assessment decided someone was needed to escort the vehicle then a safe system of work needed to be devised. Employees should also have been given appropriate training, including how to communicate effectively with the driver.”
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