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Firm ordered to pay £65,000 fine after worker loses leg in accident

A Sellafield film has been fined £65,000 after it admitted responsibility for an accident at the Sellafield nuclear plant which resulted in a man losing his leg.

The facilities management company, Johnson Controls Ltd, had earlier pleaded guilty to a health and safety breach. 

At Carlisle Crown Court, the prosecutor described how on May 5th 2011, Kenneth Brown was working as an escort for a colleague who was driving a mobile elevated working platform along a roadway on the site. 

His job was to walk in front of the platform and ensure that its path was clear at all times. 

As he was carrying out his duty he felt a touch on the back of his heel and then an intense pain. 

The drive became aware of the colleagues shouting but due to the fact there was no brake on the platform it could not stop straight away. 

The machine had run over the man’s leg and had to be reversed in order to free him. The court heard how the weight on the man’s leg was the equivalent to three tons. 

“He was in intensive care for six or seven weeks and suffered a cardiac arrest. His left leg was amputated below the knee, and then again further above the knee. He was discharged on September 9,” the barrister said. 

Johnson Controls Ltd were told that both the driver and the accident victim had been given general safety training but had failed to teach them the correct hand signalling which the driver and escort use to communicate to each other. There was also no specific training for the role of being an escort. 

The judge concluded, “This is not a case of a total disregard for the safety of an employee… It’s a case of a lack of understanding of the requirements and a failure to do the right thing to safeguard employees and not expose them to risk.”

The firm must now also pay prosecution costs of £8,162 and £15 victim surcharges.

Have you been injured in an accident in work? 

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