December 13, 2017

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In court

Young worker sustained serious hand injuries

HSE logoA partner of a poultry and farm shop has been fined after a schoolboy lost his finger as a result of crush injuries to his right hand.

Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court was told how, on 17 February 2016, the schoolboy, who was doing casual weekend work at Denmead Poultry and Farm Shop, was seriously injured when collecting split logs from a log splitter with two colleagues. The cutting wedge came down on his fingers severing two and causing a third to be partially severed. Extensive surgery enabled two fingers to be successfully reattached.

The Health and Safety Executive’s investigation into the incident found the log splitter was not designed to be used by three people and the risks of working as a three-person team when carrying out the log splitting had not been identified. It was also found there was a failure by Andrew Rafferty, the partner in control of the work activity, to suitably and sufficiently assess the risk of non-machine operators having to put their hands in the danger area of the cutting blade.

Rafferty of Woods Edge, Denmead, Hampshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £815.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Johnson said: “Young workers who are likely to be new to the workplace need clear and sufficient instruction, training and supervision to enable them to work without putting themselves and other people at risk.

“This incident could so easily have been avoided had the employer ensured that safe systems of work were in place. Duty-holders must be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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