Nottinghamshire County Council fined £1m after walker hit

Belinda Liversedge
British Safety Council
21 Apr 2017
Nottingham Crown and County Courts

Nottinghamshire County Council has been fined after a disabled pensioner was hit by a 'tractor grabber' being used to clear woodland debris.

Nottingham Crown Court heard how, on 1 June 2015, workers had been collecting branches in County Park in Rufford Abbey, a 150 acre public parkland.

They were using a tractor-mounted grab attachment to pick up and transport the wood for burning. 

At the same time, a member of the public, a 71-year-old man, had been enjoying a guided walk in the grounds containing the ruins of a 12th-century Cistercian abbey.

The tractor operator could not see him ahead and crashed into him, leaving the elderly man with serious bruises and injuries to arms, legs and head.

HSE’s investigation found the council failed to implement a safe system of work because they had not segregated vehicle movements from the public.

They had also 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.

Nottinghamshire County Council of County Hall, West Bridgford, Nottingham pleaded guilty of breaching Sections 2 (1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and was fined £1million with costs of £10,269.85.

Investigating 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.”