£175,000 for hand injury

Posted: 17th February 2012

Damaged skips which led to a skip worker's hand being crushed and him receiving a settlement of £175,000 from his former employer.
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 the skips were damaged and 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 systems 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, which can be downloaded here.