Rail firm fined after man twice trapped his hand
A RAIL equipment company has been ordered to pay nearly £50,000 after a man twice injured his hand at work.
Balfour Beatty was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £41,438 after a hearing at Nottingham Crown Court.
Back in May 2009, Keith Hawley, 64, of Chaddesden, Derby, was manoeuvring a large piece of rail track into a press at Balfour Beatty Rail Track Systems Ltd, in Osmaston Street, Sandiacre.
His right hand was trapped between the rail and a conveyor roller. He suffered flesh wounds and a broken finger.
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Then on March 29, 2010, the other hand was seriously injured when Mr Hawley was trapped while carrying out the same work.
Nottingham Crown Court heard that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that on both occasions the machine did not have adequate guards.
The court heard that the company was in the process of fitting a guarding system in response to the first incident but had not completed the task.
Balfour Beatty Rail Track Systems Ltd, of Station Road, Redhill, Surrey, was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 for failing to provide a safe system of work.
After the hearing, Health and Safety Executive inspector Berian Price said he believed that both of the incidents were preventable.
He added: "Guarding could and should have been provided but there were other systems of work in the company's operating manuals that could have been used, such as using an overhead crane to move the rail or using a pulling bracket.
"Instead, workers like Keith Hawley were left to their own devices and adopted an unsafe system that exposed them to injury risk.
"The fact that this incident happened once was bad enough but for it to have happened a second time, to the same man, is deplorable.
"Balfour Beatty Rail Track Systems is a large organisation with a lot of resources.
"They should have acted a lot quicker than they did.
"Mr Hawley has suffered unnecessarily as a result of their failings."
A Balfour Beatty spokesman said the company acknowledged the verdict of the court.
He said: "Although we no longer operate the Sandiacre manufacturing plant where this incident occurred, the company will use the guidance given by the Health and Safety Executive and the court to ensure that these types of accidents are prevented in the future across all Balfour Beatty operations.
"Balfour Beatty takes the safety of all its employees very seriously and we were pleased that this was acknowledged in today's judgement."