Branch Secretary :

Housing association worker suffers life changing injury

Broken bones


A Manchester housing association has been hit with a £200,000 bill after a worker had to have a finger and thumb amputated after his hand was mangled by a mower.


The worker sustained several broken bones to his left hand it was struck by a metal blade on a ride-on mower while carrying out work for New Charter Housing Trust. Medics were forced to cut off his thumb and forefinger following the incident.  The man is understood to have been left with ‘life-changing’ injuries and cannot use the remaining fingers on his hand.


Worker had not recieved training


New Charter Housing Trust was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the organisation had failed to consider the risks from the work; provide professional training; and to give clear instructions on what to do if mowers became blocked. 


Crucially, the court was told the worker had not received training on how to use the mower - and did not know that the fan continued to rotate for around 30 seconds after the engine was switched off.


Disapointed by the award


Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Sarah Taylor said: “A young worker has suffered injuries that will affect him for the rest of his life, but they could easily have been avoided.


“New Charter Housing Trust should have planned the work properly and provided appropriate training, so workers knew to wait for the fan to stop.”


A spokesman for the trust said: “New Charter Housing Trust is deeply saddened by the incident.  We are disappointed by the decision handed down by the court.”  Rather than being disappointed by the award for avoidable life changing injuries would it not have been more appropriate for the employer to resolve to review risk assessments? 


Risk assesment


Unite reps and Unite safety reps should ensure that employers maintain adequate risk assessments and that they are updated regularly – see Unite’s Health and Safety Guide for more information on this.  There is also a new four page leaflet ‘Sat no to unsafe jobs’ from available from Unite.


More health and safety news is available on this website here.


Paul Kershaw


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