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Hannah Bennett, SolicitorWe hear of so many cases which make you think ‘If only’. If only something different had been done, if only something hadn’t been done, if only they’d undergone training. And so the list goes on.

With the majority of workplace accidents when they are investigated the findings often show that if only something different had been done the accident could have been prevented. That was certainly the case recently for an employee of a contractor firm who tragically lost his leg due to a careless oversight by his employers.

The employee was carrying out normal day to day duties when he slipped as he climbed from the back of a flat bed lorry. The lorry was parked next to a slurry mixer and as the employee slipped, he put his left leg down to steady himself. As he did so his left leg went through an opening in the top of the slurry mixer with the moving paddles within the mixer causing injuries so severe that his lower left leg below his knee had to be amputated.

Following the accident the Health and Safety Executive carried out investigations and found that the guard which should have been over the moving paddles had been removed shortly before the accident and had not been replaced. If only the firm had bothered to replace it at the time…

The contractor pled guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined. As was pointed out by the Health and Safety Executive the accident was entirely avoidable. The employee suffered significant injuries, spent a number of weeks in hospital and has been left with ongoing restrictions and limitations. If only the guard been in place on the slurry mixer the accident could have been prevented and the pain, suffering and turmoil inflicted on the employee could have been avoided.

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