A Troon sawmilling firm has been fined a total of £28,000 after two of its employees were severely injured in separate incidents less than three months apart.
On 28 May 2007, John Wilson, 55, of Dalmellington, Ayrshire, was working for Adam Wilson and Sons in Troon, Ayrshire, when he fell through a gap in a raised walkway left open after work had been done on a conveyor belt below. He suffered serious injuries to his arm and permanent loss of movement in his shoulder as a result of the fall.
Less than three months later, on 24 August 2007, Robert Cumming, 59, of Ayr, Ayrshire, was working for the same firm at the same plant when his head was trapped between the metal parts of a hoist after it was switched on while he was working on it. He suffered serious crush injuries to his head and neck and required emergency surgery. He is having ongoing physiotherapy for his injuries.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Adam Wilson and Sons did not have safe systems of work in place for maintaining the conveyor belt, or the hoist machine. The investigation also found that staff had not been given enough information, training, instruction and supervision on the importance of safe systems of work and machinery isolation when doing maintenance work.
Adam Wilson and Sons Limited, of Harbour Road, Troon, Ayrshire, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 Section 2(1), 2(2)(a) in the May incident, and to breaching Section 2(1), 2(2)(a) and (c) in the August incident. They were fined £8,000 for the first incident, £20,000 for the second incident. HSE Inspector Helen Diamond said:
These were two serious and entirely preventable accidents which will affect both Mr Wilson and Mr Cumming for the rest of their lives.
“Employers need to recognise the importance of making sure that safe systems of work are in place to prevent these sorts of accident, and to give their employees the training, information, instruction and supervision they need to carry out their work safely.”