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County Council in Warwickshire Fined for Failing Self-Employed Worker
Posted by David Cant on December 14, 2011

The Health and Safety Executive have prosecuted the Warwickshire County Council. They decided to prosecute the council after one of their contractors was injured on the job.  A self-employed heating contractor was badly injured when he was working around machinery which was not properly guarded. As a result of the accident the contractor, John Shields, severely damaged his fingers, losing most of two of his fingers.

Dangerous Machinery Costs Worker His Fingers

Sixty four year old Mr Shields was working at Shire Hall which is in Warwick. While he was checking a pump which supplied heat his hand was caught and pulled into the belts which were running. As a result of the injuries Mr Shields had to have two fingers almost entirely amputated. Now he lives with a constant tingling and a stinging sensation in his hand. The pain is managed by pain killers and gets worse in the cold weather.

Completely Avoidable Accident Had the Legal Requirements Been Followed

The injuries have meant that Mr Shields has not been able to return to work since the accident which occurred in October 2009. He finds it difficult to perform many daily tasks which others may take for granted. All of these problems could have been avoided if the county council in Warwickshire had followed the legal requirements in place about the exposure of moving parts in machinery. Had they worked with health and safety consultants the accident could have been avoided and the Health and Safety Executive would never have prosecuted.

Adequate Guarding a Must

The Nuneaton Magistrates Court heard Warwickshire County Councils guilty plea.  They admitted that they had breached Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1988. As a result the council were then given a fine of £7,000 and a total of £5,235 in court costs.

This case is a clear example of what can happen when the laws and regulations are not adhered to. Adequate measures must be taken to ensure safety in the workplace and that workers are not exposed to dangerous machinery parts.  It is your legal duty to make sure that all workers on your site are protected whether they are self-employed contractors or employees.

Learn the Regulations for Your Industry

Health and Safety Consultants are able to help any business in any industry discover the requirements of the Provision and Use of Work Regulations in order to avoid accidents and prosecutions. The health inspectors working for the HSE made it fully aware that it is not acceptable to fail to guard dangerous machinery parts.

Use the health and safety services to make sure that your employees and any contractors are working in safe environments. If you would like to discuss the health and safety services in greater detail call the consultants at Veritas.  Contact the experts by calling: 0800 1488 677. You will be able to choose between many different services including:

  • Health and Safety Audits
  • Training for you and your employees
  • Workplace, office and construction safety and more.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner with a brain you can pick. Fluent in practical advice. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the Director of life at Veritas Consulting.

You can find him on – Twitter and Facebook also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Fire Risk Management, Health and Safety at Work, Health and Safety Services, Workplace Health and Safety

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