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Bakery Employee Loses Leg After Workplace Accident

A woman whose leg had to be amputated after an accident in the workplace is likely to receive substantial compensation for her injuries after her employer was successfully prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The accident happened during a night shift, when the woman was supervising four other members of staff who were carrying out cleaning tasks. She was acting as a banksman, guiding an employee who was using a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP). The vehicle struck the woman as it turned into the warehouse, crushing her left leg.

The woman was in hospital for three months following the accident. She underwent nine operations, including skin grafts, and her leg had to be amputated below the knee. She was left with scarring, is wheelchair dependent and cannot leave the house on her own.

An investigation by the HSE revealed that the company had failed to put in place a suitably safe system of work for escorting MEWPs, or to provide information, instruction and training on moving them. It had also not ensured that only trained MEWP operators acted as banksmen, as its company policy required. The company pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 33(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay £7,266 in costs.

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