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WORKMAN LOSES LEG IN COLLISION WITH CHERRY PICKER

Provision of high-viz jackets not enough to avoid prosecution and fine

Johnson Controls Ltd has been fined after an employee had his leg amputed after he was run over by a cherry picker at a nuclear site in Cumbria. Ken Brown was ‘escorting’ the vehicle on foot when it struck him at the Windscale site in May 2011.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that he was standing close to the front of the cherry picker directing the vehicle along a one-way road when it ran over his left leg. 

HSE investigators found there was no safe system of work for the task and relevant training had not been provided. Mr Brown and others had escorted cherry pickers on foot several times a month over the previous 14 months. 

The workforce were advised to wear a high visibility jackets during the task but were not provided with “specific training” for the task.

People and vehicles must be kept apart

Johnson Controls Ltd (part of a global organisation employing over 160,000 people) pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of employees. The company, from Hampshire, was fined £65,000 and ordered to pay £8,162 in prosecution costs on 8 October 2012.

Speaking after the hearing, the investigating inspector at HSE, Faye Wingfield, said:

“Kenneth Brown has suffered a terrible injury that will affect him for the rest of his life due to failings of his employer. Vehicles continue to be a major cause of serious injuries in the workplace, and the first principle of any employer should be to keep people and vehicles apart.

It is questionable whether Johnson Controls actually needed a member of staff on foot to direct the cherry picker, given that it was travelling forwards along a road in a one-way system.

But if the risk assessment decided someone was needed to escort the vehicle then a safe system of work needed to be devised. Employees should also have been given appropriate training, including how to communicate effectively with the driver.”

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