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Nuclear site injury firm hit with £70,000 bill

Johnson Controls Ltd has been ordered to pay out over £70,000 after an employee lost a leg on a nuclear site in Cumbria.

Ken Brown, 62, was escorting a cherry picker on fit when he was struck at the Windscale site in Seascale on 5 May last year.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation found that there had not been a safe system of work for the task, and that relevant training had not been provided.

Carlisle Crown Court heard Mr Brown, from Distington, had been standing close to the cherry picker to direct it along a one-way road on the site, when it ran over his left leg. He was taken to hospital, and doctors amputated the leg above the knee.

The HSE investigation found that Mr Brown and other employees had escorted the vehicles several times a month for at least 14 months, and that the only advice given was to wear a high visibility waistcoat.

Johnson Controls Ltd, based in Hampshire, was fined £65,000 and ordered to pay over £8,000 in prosecution costs.

HSE investigating inspector Faye Wingfield said: “Kenneth Brown has suffered a terrible injury that will affect him for the rest of his life due to failings of his employer. Vehicles continue to be a major cause of serious injuries in the workplace, and the first principle of any employer should be to keep people and vehicles apart.

“It is questionable whether Johnson Controls actually needed a member of staff on foot to direct the cherry picker, given that it was travelling forwards along a road in a one-way system.

“But if the risk assessment decided someone was needed to escort the vehicle then a safe system of work needed to be devised. Employees should also have been given appropriate training, including how to communicate effectively with the driver.”

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