Bristol City Council has been heavily fined by the courts after a worker was seriously injured in an accident at work in 2012.
The 51-year-old worker (who does not wish to be named for personal reasons) was working for the Council as a park keeper in Netham Park, Bristol when the accident occurred on 30 May 2012.
On the day in question, the worker was scheduled to carry out maintenance work and therefore took a tractor with a trailer into the park. As the tractor descended a slope she braked and the vehicle skidded. She swerved to avoid a fence but the tractor overturned, ejecting her from her seat. As a result of the accident she broke her pelvis and badly damaged one of her Achilles tendons. She was off work for a year but has now returned, albeit in an office capacity.
An investigation was carried out by the Health and Safety Executive and this investigation found that there had been the following health and safety breaches by Bristol City Council:
- A failure to supply proper health and safety equipment such as a seatbelt or any other type of restraint
- A failure to provide the worker with sufficient training to allow her to use the tractor properly
As a result of the above-listed health and safety breaches the HSE recommended a prosecution of Bristol City Council. The Council pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £20,000, as well as being ordered to pay the prosecution’s costs to the sum of £4,700.
HSE Inspector Kate Leftly stated after the judgment: “This incident was entirely preventable and has caused the worker considerable suffering and distress. She had trained three years for her park keeper role but is now office-bound and will need further surgery on the tendon requiring a 12-18 month recovery.”
There appears to have been no comment so far from Bristol City Council or its criminal defence solicitors.
Chris Hadrill, a solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Businesses have obligations to their employees to ensure that work equipment is suitable for use and presents no danger to their health and safety. The court found in this instance that the Council had failed to do so and fined them accordingly for the health and safety breaches.”
Please note that Redmans Solicitors represented neither of the parties in this case and was not affiliated with the case in any way