The issue of enforcing proper training programmes has been raised by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) after an accident at a packaging firm in Sheffield left an employee having to have part of a hand amputated.

In this case the employee has solid grounds to claim that negligence on the part of his employer should lead to a payment of damages in respect of the injuries suffered. Providing suitable and sufficient training is a basic right for any person taking on a job and this incident highlighted a common flaw in this process, with the employee asked to fill in on a one-off task to take up time at the end of a shift.

The worker was employed as a driver at W.K. West Limited in Sheffield, and had finished his driving duties on the day of the accident in October 2016. As a result he was asked to do some work in the factory.

Insufficient training led to accident

A circular saw was set up and the worker was asked to cut a stack of cardboard sheets into pre-determined sizes by pushing them through the saw. A supervisor demonstrated the task to the employee and no push stick or jig was used to push the cardboard through the blade, it was done by hand. After this brief training, the employee was left unsupervised to carry out the task.

The cardboard was pushed through the blade, but when some of the material became twisted, the worker’s hand was pulled into the blade. This resulted in the worker having to have part of his index finger and ring finger amputated. This was on the right hand that the worker used most, while his middle finger was also damaged.

Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard that W.K. West Limited, trading as Westpack, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were fined £120,000 with £849.54 costs.

Personal injury solicitors in Leeds

According to the HSE investigations, the employer’s failings included a lack of suitable and sufficient training, supervision and risk assessments for the task. Clearly this was not the employee’s normal job and nobody should expect a worker to instantly pick up all aspects of a particular task just because they work elsewhere within the organisation. The HSE also commented that circular saws have a well-known accident history, and the incident could easily have been avoided by the implementation of control measures and safe working practices.

Where an employer is negligent in not applying adequate control measures and not providing suitable and sufficient training, and a personal injury occurs, then an employee is entitled to seek legal redress for their injuries.

At Ison Harrison, our personal injury department, headed by Gareth Naylor, has a first-class reputation as one of the best personal injury law teams in Yorkshire. We have successfully pursued many personal injury cases in circumstances similar to this. Our experienced and dedicated staff will listen to your story and advise on your chances of success, before processing your claim and helping you with any physical rehabilitation you might require. Please call us for a confidential chat today – 0113 284 5000.

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