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January 16, 2014

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Bristol council fined after worker thrown from tractor


Bristol City Council has been fined for safety failings after a park keeper suffered serious injuries when she was thrown from a tractor.
The 51-year-old worker from Bristol broke her pelvis and badly damaged an Achilles tendon in the incident in Netham Park, Bristol on 30 May 2012.
Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard that the park keeper, who was carrying out maintenance work, was driving the tractor with a trailer attached and had braked as the tractor descended a slope. The vehicle skidded and she turned to avoid a fence, but it overturned and threw her from the seat.
An HSE investigation into the incident found that the tractor was not fitted with a seat belt or any type of restraint and the Council failed to ensure their employee had received adequate training on the use of the tractor. 
The investigation also identified that the nearly new tractor and trailer had been acquired by Bristol City Council shortly before the incident but outside the normal procurement procedure and, as a result, no supplier training was provided.
Bristol City Council of City Hall, College Green, Bristol, was fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay £4,700 in costs after admitting a breach of regulation 9(1) and 26(2) of the PUWER 1998.
Following the hearing, HSE inspector Kate Leftly, said: “This incident was entirely preventable and has caused the worker considerable suffering and distress. She had trained three years for her park keeper role, but is now office-bound and will need further surgery on the tendon requiring a 12-18 month recovery.
“Bristol City Council had inadequate systems in place to ensure operators were suitably trained in the use of this equipment and failed to identify the need for a suitable seat restraint.”

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