Lincoln topsoil supplier fined £80k over worker’s life-changing injuries

A topsoil supplier in Lincoln has been fined £80,000 after an employee lost the use of both arms in a work related accident.

Freeland Horticulture Ltd of Firth Road have been ordered to pay £3,439 in prosecution costs and fined £80,000 after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at work etc. Act 1974.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Piotr Chrzanowski, 20, from Ellesmere Port, had been helping to free a blockage on a conveyor belt July 16, 2013, when his hand became trapped, pulling him in.

He had become caught by a rotating drum underneath the conveyor belt and suffered breaks to his left arm and collar bone, crush injuries and torn muscles across his back and shoulders.

The company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as Mr Chrzanowski had been able to gain access to a dangerous part of the machine while it was still in operation.

The court was told that Freeland Horticulture had failed to ensure a safe system of work was in place for clearing blockages and workers had not received instructions on how to carry out this work.

HSE issued an immediate Prohibition Notice which has shut down the whole production line until machine guards have been improved and a system has been put in place to cut the power before maintenance work can be carried out.

HSE Inspector, Jane Carroll, said: “It simply shouldn’t have been possible to access dangerous parts of the machine while it was still operating – and workers shouldn’t have been put in a position where they reached in to clear blockages by hand.

“I’d urge manufacturing companies to think carefully about the real dangers facing their workers and then take action to improve safety.”