Prosecution follows use of unguarded grinder in untrained hands

Ecclesall Developments Ltd has been prosecuted after a workman was injured whilst using an angle grinder on a stone block during landscaping works on a domestic property in August 2011. The grinder ”kicked back” hitting and slicing into his right leg.

Sam Ashford, aged 27, was unable to work or carry out routine daily tasks for several months. He has since returned to work but not in the construction industry.

HSE told Sheffield Magistrates (20 Dec) that the angle grinder was not fitted with a guard which left the blade completely exposed. The company failed to check if Mr Ashford could use the tool correctly and did not provide suitable protective equipment.

Failure to consider task and checks injured worker abilities

Ecclesall Developments Ltd of Millhouses Lane, Sheffield, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £8,985 in costs after admitting a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector John Dutton said:

“The incident was entirely avoidable had Ecclesall Developments adopted some simple solutions, such as providing suitable cutting equipment and adequate training in safe cutting practices. Instead, no consideration was given by the company to how the task was to be carried out and no checks were made on the abilities of their employee in using an angle grinder. The injuries suffered by Mr Ashford, whilst serious, could have been much worse. All companies can benefit their businesses and their employees by ensuring they consider how a task should be carried out, providing the correct equipment for the job and making sure workers are trained in their use.”