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Powys County Council fined for safety failings

06 March 2014

Powys County Council has been prosecuted after an employee was seriously injured at its public services’ depot in Ystradgynlais.

 Llandrindod Wells Magistrates’ Court heard on 5 March that Andre ‘Dean’ Colamazza, 45, and his colleagues were moving large concrete barriers using a telescopic handler when the incident happened at the Abercraf depot on 12 June 2012.

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that after one of the 2.5-tonne, three-metre barriers had been laid on wooden bearers, it toppled over and knocked Mr Colamazza to the ground, crushing his left leg.

 He suffered three fractures and a shattered knee cap and was taken to Morriston Hospital in Swansea, where he remained for five weeks. Mr Colamazza, who is from the local area, has made a partial recovery and has since returned to work at the Council.

 The court was told the incident occurred because the workers moving the barriers were using inappropriate equipment and an unsafe system of work. The investigation found none of the employees asked to move the barriers had been trained to do so and that no risk assessment had been carried out by the Council to determine a safe system of work.

At the time of the incident Powys County Council owned equipment which was suitable for moving concrete barriers. However, this was kept at the premises of one of the Council’s contractors and the team at the Abercraf depot were unaware of its existence.

Powys County Council of County Hall, Spa Road, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, was fined a total of £24,000 and ordered to pay £13,528 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

 Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Sarah Baldwin-Jones said: "There is no excuse for employers failing to safeguard their workers. Had Mr Colamazza and his colleagues been properly trained to safely move the concrete barriers, using the correct equipment, and a proper risk assessment carried out by Powys County Council, this incident would not have occurred and Mr Colamazza would not have been seriously injured."