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April 21, 2017

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Million pound fine for council after member of public injured

Nottinghamshire County Council has been fined after a member of the public was struck by a council tractor. They were fined £1,000,000 for the incident and ordered to pay costs of £10,269.85.

The council pleaded guilty to charges of breaching Sections 2 (1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Injuries

Nottingham Crown Court heard on 1 June 2015 that a disabled 71 year old man suffered bruising and injuries to his arms, legs and head.

The court heard that council employees were collecting branches to be burned, transporting them using a tractor mounted grab attachment. At the same time a disabled man was on a guided walk in the park. The worker using the tractor to transport branches through the park could not see the member of public ahead and collided with him.

Safety failures

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the council failed to implement a safe system of work for this activity in that they failed to segregate vehicle movements from the public.

The HSE investigation also found that the council had failed to train workers to the required level needed to safety operate the mounted grab and act as a banksman. It was found that the machine was not suitable.

According to HSE the council had also failed to supervise and plan the work to a high enough degree for a public place and as a result put their workers and members of the public at risk.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Martin Giles said: “The failure to properly plan this work and put in place straight forward control measures not only put the gentleman at risk but also endangered other members of the public walking with him.

“Duty holders have the responsibility to assess the work they do in public areas to lower the risk of harm and injury, particularly when they introduce new plant or equipment.”

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David BannisterPaul Santoro-HallCharlotte WrightSueRay Rapp Recent comment authors
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Lee Taylor
Lee Taylor

Shame this fine wont come from the Salaries/Pension Funds of Council Officials, but from the Council Taxpayers of the region! Anyone fired? I doubt it!

Sean
Sean

If this was an organised guided walk surely some of the responsibility lies with the organisers of the walk to carry out their own risk assessments and include detailed RA’s and SWP’s especially considering the vulnerable persons in their care? Obviously I am not aware of all the details but this was my first thought on the matter.

Ray Rapp
Ray Rapp

Wow! A million pound fine for a non-profit making organisation with not even a fatality or life changing injuries. Makes one wonder what level of fine a fatality would have brought?

Sue
Sue

Is this Nottingham City Council or Nottinghamshire County Council – there is no such thing as Nottingham County Council!

Charlotte Geoghegan (née Wright)
Charlotte Geoghegan (née Wright)

Thank you very much for your comment Sue. This has been corrected.

Paul Santoro-Hall
Paul Santoro-Hall

Ok so there was a breach and someone was injured albeit minor injuries, although it could have been very different i guess. and the fine and costs seem to be a bit high to say the least. i Agree With Lee Taylor, the problem here is we are not hitting people who are responsible for ensuring procedures are in place ie. the directors and up line managers, until we do this the safety message will always be watered down, with no ownership or dare i say it blame. all this has achieved is to have stripped a million pounds from… Read more »

David Bannister
David Bannister

It would be interesting to see how the fine was calculated, given the latest sentencing guidelines.