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July 26, 2010

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Worker lay in road to draw attention to his injuries

A worker had to have his lower leg amputated after it was crushed underneath a surface-paving machine.

On 29 August 2008, Alan Seviour, who worked as a delivery driver for John Wainwright & Co Ltd, was carrying out some relief work on a road in Monkton, Heathfield. There are several speed ramps at intervals along the road, and a surface-paving machine was being used to lay hot asphalt on either side of the speed ramps.

Mr Seviour could see material spilling out from the front of the paver, so he went to tap down the material while walking backwards. As he was clearing material from the front of the machine, his foot became trapped and was crushed between a speed bump and a bar at the front of the machine. He couldn’t see the driver from where he was so he lay down diagonally across the road so that he could catch someone’s attention.

One of his colleagues saw that he was in distress and told the driver to stop the vehicle. The damage to Mr Seviour’s right foot was so severe that he was forced to have his lower leg amputated. He still works for the company as a driver, but has to use a specially adapted van.

The firm was issued an Improvement Notice on 23 October 2008, which required a review of engineering controls to prevent the need to access the front of paving machine, and to implement a robust safe system of work.

John Wainwright & Co Ltd appeared in Taunton Magistrates’ Court on 21 July and pleaded guilty to breaching s2(1) and s3(1) of the HSWA 1974. It was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £8015 in costs.

In mitigation, the company said it had no previous convictions and regretted the injuries that Mr Seviour had sustained. It has subsequently installed a hydraulic apron around the machine’s hopper to reduce the amount of spillage. It also installed an isolation button, which allows workers to isolate that machine when they are working at the front of the vehicle.

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Annette Walker said: “Although the surface paver is a slow-moving machine, it is not safe for anyone to work in front of it while it is in motion as it can be noisy, making communication difficult.

“Mr Seviour suffered life-changing injuries because the machine was in motion and the driver had limited forward visibility because of the way the machine was designed. In fact, the driver did not know Mr Seviour was trapped until he was told to reverse off him.

“This incident could have been avoided if John Wainwright & Co had put the right systems in place to ensure the safety of all people working with, or near this machine.”

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13 years ago

Last years accident.

A copy to TQ to help them focus.

Hope your doing OK with the army still.

13 years ago

This is an amazing oversight by the company. Surely this incident could have been foreseen if an adequate risk assessment had taken place? £10,000 fine is nothing when you consider how a man’s life has been changed forever as a result of this ‘oversight’.