An engineering firm was fined £7,500 last week as a result of an accident in which an employee lost his right thumb during a lifting operation.
Although equipment had been provided in the form of a rope sling, it snapped, causing steel weighing half a ton to fall and crush the employee’s thumb. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showed that the sling had not been properly tested or checked and the employer had not carried out any risk assessments.
All manual handling operations to be undertaken by employees must be carefully considered by employers.
Regulation 4(1) of The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 provide that every employer shall;
(a) so far as is reasonably practicable, avoid the need for his employees to undertake any manual handling operations at work which involve a risk of their being injured; or
(b) where it is not reasonably practicable to avoid the need for his employees to undertake any manual handling operations at work which involve a risk of their being injured
In this case it appears that a risk assessment would revealed that the equipment was inadequate for it’s purpose.
Providing defective work equipment is in itself a breach of regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
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