Tree worker in court after father and son suffer hand injuries

A self-employed arboriculturalist from Spalding has been fined after two workers  – a father and son – both suffered hand injuries while splitting logs.

Grantham Magistrates’ Court heard that on 8 March 2014, a 52-year-old man, who was working for Lewis Hart, was guiding a log through the splitting machine when his left hand came into contact with the blade, partially severing a finger. It was amputated in hospital.

When a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector interviewed him about the incident he dicovered the victim’s 24-year-old son had been injuired on the same machine just two months earlier but Lewis Hart had failed to report it.

In that incident on 2 January 2014, a log had moved during the splitting process and crushed his hand, breaking it in three places. He was unable to work for a month.

Both men, who live in Spalding but have asked not to be identified, are now working for someone else.

HSE’s investigation found the log splitter had never been guarded. A prohibition notice was issued banning its use with immediate effect until it could be made safe.

Lewis Robert Hart, 25, of Linden Way, West Pinchbeck, Spalding, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1)(b) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 for failing to guard the machine, and a separate offence of failing to report one of the incidents.

He was today (29 Jan) fined £965 and ordered to pay £1,347 costs.

After the hearing HSE inspector Neil Ward said:

“The risks associated with unguarded machinery are well known in the industry, and so are the measures that should be taken to minimise or remove those risks.

“Lewis Hart was fully aware of the lack of guarding on the machine but failed to take action leading to painful injuries.

“He was also aware of the requirement to report any injuries to HSE within 15 days but, in the case of the incident involving the younger man, failed to do so. Had it not been for the incident involving has father, we may never have known about it.”

Notes to Editors

  1. 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.
  1. Regulation 11(1)(b) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken in accordance with paragraph (2) which are effective to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”
  1. Regulation 4(2) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013  states: “Where any person at work is incapacitated for routine work for more than seven consecutive days (excluding the day of the accident) because of an injury resulting from an accident arising out of or in connection with that work, the responsible person must send a report to the relevant enforcing authority in an approved manner as soon as practicable and in any event within 15 days of the accident.”

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