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Groundworks firm fined for safety failings


APK Earthmoving Ltd fined after site security guard suffers life-changing injuries to his hand

A GROUNDWORKS company has been fined £10,000 after a security guard suffered serious injuries to one of his hands at a site in Avonmouth.

Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 17 November 2017, a plant driver employed by APK Earthmoving Ltd requested the assistance of a security guard working for a separate company to remove a trailer from a bulldozer whilst the machine was operated by the driver.

During this operation, the security guard’s right hand became trapped between a metal post and the bulldozer, resulting in the amputation of his middle and ring fingers, and loss of movement in the index finger of his right hand.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that APK Earthmoving had conducted their undertaking – the hire of mobile plant and driver services – in such a way that people not in their employment were exposed to risks to their safety.

Oxfordshire-based APK Earthmoving Ltd, who pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, were fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,297.

The injured person said: ‘I was off work for seven months and still have a lot of pain in my hand. As I’m right-handed, my injuries have affected my writing and there are many tasks at work and at home that I need help with. I tend to keep my hand in my pocket because I’m concerned it will affect people if they see my injuries.’

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Berenice Ray said: ‘This injury could have been easily prevented if a safe system of work had been followed, with the bulldozer ignition turned off before anyone was allowed close to remove the trailer.

‘Employers should make sure they properly assess risks and apply effective control measures to minimize the risk from their machinery operations.’

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