A skip worker whose hand was crushed in an accident at work in 2009 has won £175,000 in damages.
Heath Riley, who was 42 when the accident occurred, was delivering a skip for Enviro Skips Ltd. of Burnley. The skips were not stacked properly and the one on top of the pile fell onto Mr Riley’s right hand. He had to have his thumb amputated at the site of the accident and was then taken to Royal Preston Hospital, where surgeons removed his index finger also. With the loss of movement in two other fingers, he can no longer use his right hand.
As a result of the injury, Mr Riley, who is right-handed, has been unable to return to his former work and is no longer capable of carrying out many everyday tasks.
Mr Riley’s employer admitted liability as it was found that the skips were damaged and were not safe to use.
Employers have a duty to keep their employees safe from foreseeable harm. This necessitates assessing and controlling workplace risks. Special care must be taken where the work involves machinery and heavy equipment and a system should be put in place to recognise faults and/or damage that could make this unsafe to use.
The Health and Safety Executive has useful guidance on the safe use of machinery and equipment at work.