London borough council fined £500,000 for safety failings

An employee of London Borough of Havering sustained a serious cut injury just above his left knee after a Stihl cut-off saw he was using was fitted with an inappropriate blade and used to cut tree roots and branches with.

The blade became stuck and on pulling it free the blade ran across the top of his left knee.

He suffered a deep cut above the left knee damaging ligaments and cartilage requiring sixty stiches.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that the wrong equipment was being used for the task. No risk assessment was conducted for the use of the saw and blade. A safe system of work should have been in place that identified suitable and compatible machinery for certain tasks.

London Borough of Havering, Town Hall, Main Road, Romford, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 4(2) and 4(3) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,240.

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