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A company has been fined £120,000 after a worker suffered serious head injuries after being hit in the face with a scaffold pole, causing him to fall backwards. The employee sustained permanent brain damage as a result of the incident on 3 April 2017.

He had been preparing to start a paddle mixer to mix concrete. The paddle mixer door however would not open as hard concrete had built around it. Using a scaffold pole, one of the mans colleagues managed to open the door. This caused the pole to spin and hit him in the face with such force that he was thrown backwards, hitting his head and losing consciousness. This led to him breaking his jaw and suffering permanent brain damage.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the company provided an unguarded mixer for employees to use and that the mixer’s door regularly jammed. They also failed to ensure that there was a safe system of work in place to release the mixer’s door. The investigation also found that as the mixer was unguarded, workers were able to develop and adopt an unsafe system of work to release the door, which ultimately resulted in the mans injuries. The company also failed to supervise workers that were using the mixer at its site.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £14,138.06 in costs at Swansea Crown Court on 5 July 2023.

HSE inspector Gethyn Jones said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by implementing suitable control measures and safe working practices. Ensuring that safe systems of work are adopted and supplemented with adequate supervision to ensure they are followed is a fundamental requirement of the Health and Safety at work etc Act 1974. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Source – HSE

HSCS Scotland Promoting a Healthier Workplace Through Safety

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