£1,000,000 fine for Nottinghamshire County Council

Nottingham Crown Court heard that on 01 June 2015 a disabled  71-year-old man suffered bruising and injuries to his arms, legs and head from the incident involving Council Workers. The court heard that council employees were collecting branches (which were to be burned) from Rufford Park, transporting them using a tractor mounted grab attachment.  During this process, the park was in use by others, and a disabled man was on a guided walk in the park. The worker using the tractor to transport branches through the park could not see the member of public ahead and collided with him.

Nottinghamshire County Council has been fined after a member of the public was injured as a result of being struck by a council tractor. The Council received a £1,000,000 fine for the incident and ordered to pay costs of £10,269.85. The council pleaded guilty to charges of breaching Sections 2 (1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

There were several Safety Failures that came to light. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the council failed to implement a safe system of work for this activity in that they failed to segregate vehicle movements from the public. Further to this, the HSE investigation also found that the council had failed to train workers to the required level needed to operate the mounted grab safely and to act as a banksman. It was also found that the machine was not suitable for the task.

According to HSE the council had also failed to supervise and plan the work to a high enough degree for a public place and as a result put their workers and members of the public at risk.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Martin Giles said:

The failure to properly plan this work and put in place straight forward control measures not only put the gentleman at risk but also endangered other members of the public walking with him.

Duty holders have the responsibility to assess the work they do in public areas to lower the risk of harm and injury, particularly when they introduce new plant or equipment.

It is understood that a number of actions have been taken following the incident, including improving driver training, updating risk assessments for vehicle use, introducing new arrangements for managing vehicle movement in the park, improving public information at the park about vehicle movement, and improving arrangements for the supervision of employees.