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Tree worker fined £965 after father and son suffer hand injuries

January 30 2015

A self-employed arboriculturalist has been fined £965 after a father and son both suffered hand injuries while splitting logs.

Grantham Magistrates’ Court was told that on 8th March 2014, a 52-year-old man, who was working for Lewis Hart, was guiding a log through the splitting machine when his left hand came into contact with the blade, partially severing a finger. It was amputated in hospital.

When a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector interviewed him about the incident he discovered the victim’s 24-year-old son had been injured on the same machine just two months earlier but Lewis Hart had failed to report it.

In that incident on 2nd January 2014, a log had moved during the splitting process and crushed his hand, breaking it in three places. He was unable to work for a month.

Both men, who live in Spalding but have asked not to be identified, are now working for someone else.

HSE’s investigation found the log splitter had never been guarded and a prohibition notice was issued banning its use with immediate effect until it could be made safe.

Lewis Robert Hart, 25, of Linden Way, West Pinchbeck, Spalding, admitted to breaching Regulation 11(1)(b) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 for failing to guard the machine, and a separate offence of failing to report one of the incidents.

He was fined £965 and ordered to pay £1,347 costs on 29th January at Grantham Magistrates’ Court.

After the hearing HSE inspector Neil Ward said: “The risks associated with unguarded machinery are well known in the industry, and so are the measures that should be taken to minimise or remove those risks.

“Lewis Hart was fully aware of the lack of guarding on the machine but failed to take action leading to painful injuries.

“He was also aware of the requirement to report any injuries to HSE within 15 days but, in the case of the incident involving the younger man, failed to do so. Had it not been for the incident involving has father, we may never have known about it.”

PM Law solicitors in Sheffield can provide legal assistance if you have suffered an accident in the workplace. Click here for more information.