A Cornwall-based construction company has been fined £250,000 after a ground worker sustained life changing injuries in an incident involving a disc cutter.
Truro Crown Court heard how on 1 June 2017, the self-employed ground worker Morgan Prosser, contracted by MJL Contractors Limited, was completing ground works at a new building site near Bodmin, Cornwall.
Mr Prosser was using a petrol disc cutter to cut reinforced concrete beams to size. While he was doing this the saw ‘kicked up’ and caused a severe laceration to his arm. Mr Prosser underwent months of operations following the incident to try to save his arm. However, it had to be amputated In October 2017, which has had a significant impact on his ability to work and his personal life.
An investigation by HSE found that MJL Contractors Limited were responsible for the groundworks at the site, including providing and maintaining the disc cutter. Mr Prosser had not been sufficiently trained to use the petrol disc cutter and the system of work in use for cutting reinforced concrete beams had not been planned or assessed to ensure the risks were properly controlled.
MJL Contractors Limited of Hellys Court, Helston in Cornwall, were found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined £250,000 as well as ordered to pay costs of £100,000.
HSE said in its report that MJL’s key failure was that it should have been aware that Mr Prosser had no previous experience of using the disc cutter. “This should have been identified and addressed at his induction or at the time the work was allocated to him to complete,” it says.
Speaking after the hearing, investigating HSE inspector Georgina Symons said: “The contractor’s injuries have been life changing. This serious incident could have easily been avoided if basic safeguards had been put in place.”
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