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STRIMMER DEATH PROMPTS PROSECUTION AND EU WIDE BAN

Workman struck by heavy duty chain attachment during site prep work

ThreeShires Ltd, which specialises in ecological and forestry work, has been prosecuted following the death of a workman who was struck by a metal chain link which became detached from a high speed strimmer. Tony Robinson, aged 37, died the link struck him on the back of the neck  at Ramsden Dock in Barrow on 8 February 2010.

Barrow Crown Court heard that Mr Robinson had been engaged to clear undergrowth at the site during the construction of a business park. He was using a chainsaw to cut back vegetation whilst another worker was using the strimmer on a nearby bank.

The strimmer chain attachment was used being for more “heavy-duty work”. HSE investigators found that the risks of using the attachment had not been considered properly with Mr Robinson working close to where the strimmer was being operated.

Attachment banned across Europe

HSE issued a Safety Alert following Mr Robinson’s death, warning that there was a risk of death or serious injury from the use of the strimmer attachment.

An immediate Prohibition Notice was served on the sole importer of the chain attachments in the UK resulting in a nationwide ban on the sale or supply of the product. The attachment has now also been banned across Europe, after HSE alerted the European Commission to the issue.

HSE issues Safety Alerts when major faults are identified in a product, which require immediate action to reduce the risk of death or serious injury. 

Users advised to dispose of any attachments ‘immediately’

ThreeShires Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of workers. The company, of Kings Gardens in Grantham, Lincolnshire, was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in prosecution costs on 12 March 2012.

Speaking after the hearing, Allen Shute, the investigating inspector at HSE, said:

“This was a tragic case which has resulted in the needless death of a worker because the company responsible for his safety didn’t do its job properly.

The chances of him being struck by a piece of metal when the chain became detached were increased by the fact that the strimmer was being operated nearby on a bank above where he was working.

The company should have properly considered the risks of using a heavy-duty piece of equipment before it allowed the work to take place. If it had, then Mr Robinson’s death could have been avoided.

The chain attachment has since been banned across Europe, and I would urge anyone who still has one to dispose of it immediately.”

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One Response to “STRIMMER DEATH PROMPTS PROSECUTION AND EU WIDE BAN”

  1. HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 23RD MAY 2012 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] STRIMMER DEATH PROMPTS PROSECUTION AND EU WIDE BAN […]