Council employees were working in the County Park in Rufford Abbey in June 2015, collecting branches and transporting them, using a tractor mounted grab attachment, to be burned. At the same time a disabled man was on a guided walk in the park. The worker using the tractor to transport branches through the park could not see the member of public ahead and collided with him. The 71-year-old man suffered serious bruising and injuries to arms legs and head.
The HSE investigation found that the council had failed to implement a safe system of work for this activity, in that they failed to segregate vehicle movements from the public. They failed to train the workers to the required level to operate the mounted grab and act as banksman. The machine was not suitable for transporting materials long distances. The company also failed to supervise and adequately plan the work sufficiently in a public place and as a result put their own employees and members of the public at risk.
Nottinghamshire County Council pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 (1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and has been fined £1million and ordered to pay costs of £10,269.85.
Martin Giles, HSE Inspector said, “The failure to properly plan this work and put in place straight forward control measures not only put the gentleman at risk but also endangered other members of the public walking with him. Duty holders have the responsibility to assess the work they do in public areas to lower the risk of harm and injury, particularly when they introduce new plant or equipment.”
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