A council has been fined £90,000 for health and safety failings after a worker suffered a “traumatic amputation” when his arm got trapped in a road chipping machine.
A court heard the 38-year-old road worker and a colleague were setting up the machine on the morning of the incident on the B7078 near J11 of the M74 in South Lanarkshire.
Debris left in the machine, which should have been removed at the end of the previous day, had to be cleared out before they could use it.
The worker started the machine to clear it, which caused an auger to turn to remove it.
The man moved the guard, which was not fixed by the bolt, and put his gloved hand in to clear further debris he had spotted.
The screw then caught his hand and pulled it into the machine, trapping his arm.
Emergency services were alerted, and firefighters had to dismantle the machine to free the man. He was then airlifted to hospital.
The incident occurred on 22 February 2019.
On Friday, South Lanarkshire Council was fined at Hamilton Sheriff Court after pleading guilty to a charge under health and safety legislation.
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said the road worker “suffered a traumatic amputation”.
Debbie Carroll, lead of health and safety investigations at COPFS, said: “This accident could have been avoided if the systems of work in place at the time had been more robust in ensuring workers were protected from harm from their use of this machine.
“By failing to provide the appropriate training, South Lanarkshire Council left their employees in unacceptable risk.
“This prosecution should remind other employers that failing to keep their employees safe can have serious consequences and they will be held accountable for this failure.”
The machine – used in the repair and replacement of roadway surfaces – is designed to drop pre-tarred stone chips onto newly laid hot asphalt surfaces.
A Health and Safety Executive investigation found that the mesh guard intended to prevent access to the rotating auger had not been fixed in place.
Even if the fixings had been attached, the court heard it was still reasonably foreseeable that they may not be used and therefore a risk could still exist.
The injured worker had no formal training on the machine and his knowledge came from on-the-job training and experience.
The local authority accepted that between 5 September 2018 and 22 February 2019 it failed to provide a system of work that was safe and without risks to employees using the road chipping machine.
It also accepted it didn’t provide the necessary information, instruction, training and supervision.
It also failed to provide a system of work for the moving and cleaning by hand of any internal components and ensure that the rotating auger had a guard fixed in place to prevent contact with it.
A spokesperson for South Lanarkshire Council said: “This was a deeply distressing incident and we sincerely regret the serious injuries sustained by our colleague.
“We continue to support him and wish him the very best for his ongoing recovery.
“The council is committed to raising standards and improving health and safety across all sectors.”