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£500,000 fine for London council following serious injury

13 July 2016

Havering Council has been fined £500,000 after one of its workers suffered an injury to his leg that required surgery and 60 stitches.

The incident occurred when the 58-year-old man was tasked with cutting back tree branches using equipment he had not been trained to operate.

At a subsequent hearing conducted at Southwark Crown Court, it was stated that the council worker was given a cutting machine with no safety equipment and the wrong attachment, according to the Romford Recorder.

The employee had worked for the council for 19 years on road maintenance and had received no training or direction to read manuals for the equipment he used on the day of the incident, 2 March 2015.

His injuries included significant muscle and ligament damage, the court was told. Some time after the incident, the worker was shown a training video, which stated that the blade used on the day was should not have been attached to the saw.

Judge Alastair McCreath heard that the worker has not filed for civil compensation, but urged him to consider this. Havering Council was fined £500,000 with costs of £8,240 after pleading guilty to health and safety failings.

According to the Romford Recorder, a Havering Council said: “The council pleaded guilty in this case and accepts that it was at fault for this accident.

“However, the council is considering an appeal in respect of the level of fine imposed by the court.

“The fine was one of the first imposed on a local authority under new sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences, which have significantly increased the likely fines for all health and safety offences.

"However, the council still considers that the level of fine imposed is high in all the circumstances of the case, and is considering an appeal.”

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