The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted a landscaping company for failing to properly train and supervise work on a dangerous machine, which led to a teenage boy on work experience having his little finger amputated while working unsupervised on a log splitter.
An HSE investigation into the incident found that the company had employed the16-year-old for just three weeks when the incident happened.
The apprentice was shown how to operate a log splitter by the company owner, Edward Rogers, and was then left to work alone on site.
While the teenager was operating the log splitter unsupervised, he held a log in place and started the machine the hydraulic blade of the log splitter came down onto the log and severed his finger.
The Health and Safety Executive found that, while the boy was working alone on site at the time of the incident, there was no first aid given. The teenager was later taken to hospital, but his injuries were too severe to save his finger.
Ed Rogers Landscape Construction and Maintenance Ltd – of Jericho Street in Thorverton – pleaded guilty at Exeter Magistrates’ Court to the offence under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The company was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,017.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Simon Jones, said:
“Work experience for young people is incredibly valuable and is to be encouraged – but companies taking on apprentices must take into account the young person’s inexperience. As a result, they should be fully supervised when operating dangerous machinery. The boy being isolated made the situation worse when there was no one on site to help him after suffering this appalling, life changing injury.”
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