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Council fined £1m after disabled man hit by vehicle for collecting branches

Nottinghamshire County Council has been fined £1m after a disabled member of the public was struck by a vehicle used for collecting branches.

Nottingham Crown Court was told that council employees were working in the County Park in Rufford Abbey on 1 June 2015, collecting branches and transporting them, using a tractor mounted grab attachment, to be burned.

At the same time 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.

The 71-year-old man suffered serious bruising and injuries to his arms, legs and head.

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An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Nottinghamshire had failed to implement a safe system of work for this activity in that it had failed to segregate vehicle movements from the public.

The local authority had failed to train the workers to the required level to operate the mounted grab and act as banksman. The machine was not suitable for transporting materials long distances.

The HSE said the council had also failed to supervise and adequately plan the work sufficiently in a public place and as a result put their own employees and members of the public at risk.

The local authority pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2 (1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

It was fined £1m and ordered to pay costs of £10,269.85.

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.”

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