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Firm fined for finger loss

12 Apr 2017 -
A firm has been fined for a ‘serious breach of health and safety law’ after a man was left with ‘life-changing injuries’. 

Chichester Observer reports Covers Builders Merchants in Quarry Lane, Chichester has been fined GBP120,000 (USD150,000) after a forklift crushed the hand of Robert Gassor, leaving him needing to have parts of three fingers amputated. 

Gassor, 37, from Oxfordshire, was delivering timber to the site on March 18, 2016. The timber was on top of a series of steel metal posts acting as bearers. After the timber had been unloaded by a forklift, Gassor got out of his cab and started to stow the bearers away under the lorry. While he was doing this, the forklift returned and its driver passed over paperwork. 

Gassor then returned to stowing the bearers. As the forklift pulled away, its rear swung out and crushed Gassor’s hand against a partly-stowed bearer. 

He was rushed to St Richard’s Hospital for emergency treatment and subsequently had parts of three fingers amputated. 

The accident was investigated by the local council’s environmental health officers, who found there had been a breach of The Health and Safety at Work Act. 

During a hearing, Brighton Magistrates’ Court heard that Covers did not ensure the safety of pedestrians on site. Other visiting drivers reported having experienced similar incidents of forklift drivers driving up to hand them paperwork while they were pedestrians on the site. 

Covers pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3 of The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined GBP120,000 and ordered to pay costs of more than GBP6,000 (USD7,500), plus a victim surcharge.