Council fined £33,000 plus costs after apprentice's fingers crushed in lawnmower

Nottingham City Council has been fined after an apprentice suffered serious hand injuries.

Nottingham Crown Court heard how the 22-year-old worker was on site at Seagrave Primary School on 21 August 2014, when the lawnmower he was using became blocked. The worker was trying to unblock the machinery when his hand came into contact with the rotating blade. His right index finger was severed and he also suffered serious cuts and ligament damage to other fingers on his right hand.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the council had removed some of the manufacturer’s safety measures of the machinery, and replaced it with its own design which was not to the required safety standard.

The council failed to suitably control the risks posed by the physical equipment in use and also did not fully consider training needs of the employees to operate the machinery in a safe and appropriate manner. Failures were also identified in the levels of supervision provided for the lawn mowing activity by apprentices.

Nottingham City Council of Loxley House, Station St, Nottingham today pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(2)(a) of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974, Section 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment 1998 and Sections 3(1) and 5(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The body has been fined £33,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Sam Russell said: "The Council’s failings in this case have led to the worker suffering life changing injuries. The Council had for many years been removing a part of the lawnmower fitted by the manufacturer which prevented operators from gaining access to the blade.   This meant that those operating the lawnmower were exposed to risk."

"This was a preventable incident which would have been avoided if suitable control measures, levels of training, supervision and monitoring were applied."

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