Worker could claim compensation for broken arm

Worker could launch compensation claim over arm break 25613

A Worthing worker's arm injuries could lead him to seek compensation from his former employer.

Mark Mann, 42, who was employed by B&W Group - an audio equipment manufacturer in Worthing - was attempting to correct a fault in a vacuum-forming machine that made loudspeaker cones.

The man put his right arm through a space in the machine when its cooling cycle was halted and the gap closed on top of his limb - fracturing the upper bones and causing extensive nerve damage.

Mr Mann needed a plate inserted in his arm to heal the break and was unable to return to work for seven months because of his lack of motor function. He has since been made redundant.

After hearing about the incident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation and found that while B&W had done a risk assessment of the vacuum-forming machine - only burns were considered a threat.

Additionally, inspectors discovered there was no guard on the machine Mr Mann used and this meant it was responsible for his break.

B&W Group was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £6,978 in costs after admitting a single breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Following the trial, HSE inspector Graham Goodenough said: "This case shows the importance of carrying out a thorough assessment of all the risks involved in machinery. 

"What happened to Mr Mann was easily avoidable and shortly after the incident the company did fit a suitable guard to the machine that would have prevented the injuries from happening."

The UK's manufacturing industry is very safe compared to other nations', but challenges remain before the number of accidents, deaths and illnesses are brought down to acceptable levels.

While the HSE is sometimes maligned by the tabloid media for encouraging a 'health and safety culture' - risk assessments are an important part of everyday life for staff members in the construction industry and have stopped countless fatalities.

By Francesca Witney