Magistrates have fined Bristol City Council £20,000 after the HSE investigated an accident in which a tractor overturned and a worker was injured.
The Health and Safety Executive investigation was launched after a female park keeper overturned a tractor and trailer she was using to carry out maintenance work at Netham Park in Bristol in May 2012.
HSE inspectors at Bristol Magistrates Court explained that the unnamed employee had applied the brakes to the tractor as it approached an incline, but the tractor had skidded and in an attempt to avoid colliding with a fence the tractor driver had overturned the vehicle.
The fifty-one year old council worker was thrown from the cab of the tractor and broke her pelvis as she landed. She also sustained a serious Achilles tendon injury for which she will require future surgery, and which has forced her to give up working as a park keeper – a position for which she underwent three years of training.
The HSE investigation into the accident in which the tractor overturned and the worker was injured revealed that there was no seat belt fitted in the cab of the tractor and that the council worker had received inadequate training on how to safely use the vehicle.
Bristol City Council was prosecuted with two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and, after council representatives pleaded guilty to the charges – magistrates fined the council £20,000, and imposed additional costs of £4,700.
One of the inspectors who investigated the accident the accident in which the tractor overturned and the worker was injured – Kate Leftly – said after the hearing that the accident was entirely avoidable and had caused considerable pain and distress to the council worker.
Ms Leftly added that Bristol City Council failed to give their employee the training she needed to perform her duties safely or take into account that the vehicle should have been fitted with a safety restraint.