Business heavily fined after employee crushed in accident at work

A Scottish company has been heavily fined after a Health and Safety Executive investigation found that breaches of health and safety standards had caused serious injuries to a worker.

The Angus-based company was fined £10,000 by a Scottish court after a worker was crushed whilst in the course of employment in November 2012, causing him severe injuries.

Mr Michael Davidson, 28 at the time of the accident, was working for Angus Tyres Limited as a mechanic when the accident occurred on 12 November 2012. On the day in question Mr Davidson was working alone to replace the four wheels on a tractor that had been brought in for repairs. Mr Davidson had just loosened the nuts on the rear left wheel when he became aware that there was another worker directly behind him; the worker’s back was to the tractor so they were not aware that the left wheel was about to fall off. Mr Davidson attempted to prevent the tyre from falling on the other worker but in doing so the falling wheel landed on Mr Davidson, with Mr Davidson suffering a multitude of injuries (including a broken leg, fractured ribs, broken collarbone, and collapsed lung). As a result of his injuries Mr Davidson had to undergo two operations and needed seven months off work to recuperate. He has since returned to full duties.

The Health and Safety Executive were notified of the accident and sought to investigate. This investigation found that there were several health and safety breaches by the company, including:

  • No risk assessment having been undertaken on the changing of tractor wheels
  • No manual handling assessment having been undertaken on the changing of tractor wheels
  • No safe system of work being put in place for changing of tractor wheels
  • No training having been provided to allow employees to change tractor wheels safely
  • Employees being left alone to handle the changing of tractor wheels (which could weigh up to half a tonne)

The Health and Safety Executive investigation recommended that a prosecution be carried out and the case came to the Arbroath Sheriff Court on 15 April 2014. Angus Tyres Limited pleaded guilty to a breach of section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £10,000, although no order for costs appears to have been made.

HSE Inspector Michelle Gillies stated after the hearing: “The task being undertaken by Mr Davidson was not an unusual one and the risks are well recognised in the trade but the way the work was being carried out was inherently unsafe. Angus Tyres Ltd should have properly assessed the risks in advance to determine the correct equipment and training needed to change the tractor wheels safely.”

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor based at Redmans Solicitors, Richmond, commented on the case: “Employers have a duty to take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their employees. It was felt in this instance that Angus Tyres Limited had not taken such steps.”

Redmans Solicitors are employment solicitors based in London offering employment law advice and settlement agreement advice to employees and employers

Redmans Solicitors

Redmans Solicitors

Commercial law, employment law and litigation firm based in Richmond, London
Redmans Solicitors
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