A failure to carry out basic health and safety responsibilities has led to an engineering company in Norfolk being hit by a £20,000 fine, after an employee suffered an injury to three fingers in February this year. Gareth Naylor, Head of Personal Injury, examines the case below.

Dantech Engineering of Burrell Way, Thetford, Norfolk, had employed a welder who was carrying out a manual handling operation with a colleague when his fingers were crushed, leading to two of them having to be partially amputated.

The colleagues were lifting a metal frame to prepare it for a welding operation, the frame weighed approximately 250Kgs, well over the safe limit for a manual handling operation, even involving more than one person. The frame fell and crushed the man’s fingers.

Management lapses in health and safety

A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation afterwards found that no formal risk assessment had been carried out for the operation, no alternative had been considered to avoid having to manually handle the metal frame, and no steps had been taken to reduce the likelihood of injury. Furthermore, it was discovered that this same lifting operation had been carried out in an identical manner several times over the three years the company had been operating.

This fundamental lack of adequate health and safety management led to a prosecution at Norwich Magistrates’ Court in November 2017. Dantech Engineering pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1) (b) of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 and was fined £20,000 plus £884 costs.

The case very clearly shows how HSE responds with enforcement action when they find clear lapses in the required health and safety standards. At Ison Harrison we have acted for a number of clients who have reported comparable incidents, subsequently pursuing successful personal injury claims against negligent employers.

How you can pursue a personal injury claim

This incident could have been avoided through simple control measures and very basic safe working practices. Sadly, time and time again we see employers failing to carry out their basic health and safety duties and obligations, so people get injured and we are here to help these people get the compensation they deserve.

Often injuries can lead to time off work, and in more extreme cases this can result in ongoing discomfort, maybe a change of roles at work and in very extreme cases, a change of career entirely. This could be a life-changing injury, and in this day and age employers need to be more responsible.

If you have suffered an accident at work, please contact us today on 0113 284 5000 for an initial no-obligation, confidential consultation. Our team are experienced in all aspects of personal injury matters and understand how crucial expert advice can be.

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