Bristol City Council has been fined for safety failings after a park keeper suffered serious injuries when she was thrown from a tractor as it overturned.
The 51 year-old worker, from Bristol, who does not wish to be named, broke her pelvis and badly damaged an Achilles tendon in the incident in Netham Park, Bristol on 30 May 2012. She remained off work for a year but has since returned and is undertaking an office job.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) led to a prosecution yesterday (15 Jan) of Bristol City Council at the city’s Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard the park keeper, who was carrying out maintenance work, was driving the tractor with a trailer attached and had braked as the tractor descended a slope. The vehicle skidded and she turned to avoid a fence but it overturned, throwing her from the seat.
HSE found the tractor was not fitted with a seat belt or any type of restraint and the Council failed to ensure their employee had received adequate training on the use of the tractor.
The investigation also identified the nearly new tractor and trailer had been acquired by Bristol City Council shortly before the incident but outside the normal procurement procedure and, as a result, no supplier training was provided.
Bristol City Council of City Hall, College Green, Bristol, was fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay £4,700 in costs after admitting two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Kate Leftly, said:
“This incident was entirely preventable and has caused the worker considerable suffering and distress. She had trained three years for her park keeper role but is now office-bound and will need further surgery on the tendon requiring a 12-18 month recovery.
“Every year, there are accidents involving transport in the workplace, some of which result in people being injured or even killed. People fall from vehicles, are knocked down, run over, or crushed against fixed parts, plant and trailers.
“Bristol City Council had inadequate systems in place to ensure operators were suitably trained in the use of this equipment and failed to identify the need for a suitable seat restraint.”
For information about safe use of workplace transport visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/transport.htm
Notes to Editors
- The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
- Regulation 9 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that all persons who use work equipment have received adequate training for purposes of health and safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment, any risks which such use may entail and precautions to be taken.”
- Regulation 26 (2) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Where there is a risk of anyone being carried by mobile work equipment being crushed by its rolling over, the employer shall ensure that it has a suitable restraining system..”
- Visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/press.htm for all HSE news releases.