Sheffield firm fined over safety breaches

A building firm has been fined £8,000 for health and safety breaches after an employee sliced his leg.

Sam Ashford, aged 27, was using an angle grinder without a guard during landscape work in a garden in August 2011 when it kicked back, hitting and slicing his right leg.

Mr Ashford, who worked for Ecclesall Developments Ltd of Millhouses Lane, Millhouses, Sheffield, needed 12 stitches and was unable to work for months.

He has gone back to work but is no longer employed in construction.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive, which prosecuted the company after inspectors found the angle grinder used had its blade completely exposed when Mr Ashford was injured.

The HSE found that Ecclesall Developments failed to check if Mr Ashford could use the tool correctly and did not give him suitable protective equipment.

The firm was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay an additional £8,985 in costs after admitting breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Inspector John Dutton said: “The incident was entirely avoidable had Ecclesall Developments adopted some simple solutions, such as providing suitable cutting equipment and adequate training.

“No consideration was given by the company to how the task was to be carried out and no checks were made on the abilities of their employee in using an angle grinder.

“The injuries suffered by Mr Ashford, while serious, could have been much worse.

“All companies can benefit their businesses and their employees by ensuring they consider how a task should be carried out, providing the correct equipment for the job and making sure workers are trained in their use.”

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