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Scrap firm fined over worker injury

A Bolton scrap business has been sentenced after an employee suffered facial injuries at work.

The Scrappers Ltd and Terry Walker, a consultant for the company, appeared at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, where they denied breaches of health and safety law.

Walker was acquitted by the jury after a trial while The Scrappers Ltd was convicted.

The court heard that Aaron Sparrow, an employee at the firm’s Waterloo Road site, was injured while removing a catalytic converter from a car exhaust in September 2014.

Using a petrol saw above his head, the saw (pictured) flicked back off the exhaust and spun 180 degrees in his hands before hitting him in the face.

After being taken to hospital, Sparrow received more than 40 stitches and underwent plastic surgery on his brow and eyelid. He was later told that the saw blade missed his brain by 3mm.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found there was no record of formal training, and a tool specifically designed for the job was not generally used.

There did not appear to be any formal supervision arrangements at the time, and there was no safe system of work in place for operating the petrol saw at the time of the incident.

The HSE said the system of work described by staff demonstrated that using the petrol saw in this manner was custom and practice in the company.

But the company denied this, and told the court such a system of work was not allowed and not carried out.

The company was found guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £26,687.88.

After the case, HSE inspector Mike Lisle said: “It is essential that companies devise, implement and monitor suitable safe systems of work for hazardous activities.

“This incident was entirely avoidable and, had a safe system of work been in place, then it would likely have been avoided. As it is a young man is scarred for life and could easily have been killed.”

The firm has been operating for more than 30 years and recently featured in a BBC documentary series. It has been contacted by MRW for comment.

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