A worker lost his right forearm in an accident at work whilst using a tyre shredder that was unguarded because the owner of the company had removed the safety guard two weeks earlier.
The sole director Mark Anton Arabaje of the now dissolved company Cartwright Projects Ltd was successful prosecuted by the Health and Safety (HSE). The Canterbury Crown Court found the Mark Anton Arabaje negligent having removed the safety guard from the shredding machine.
How the work injury happened
Father of four, Nathan Johnson suffered the horrific work injury whilst using a tyre shredding machine in November 2013. The injury occurred when Nathan Johnson was manually placing tyres into the shredder when the shredders metal teeth failed to clasp a tyre correctly.
Mr Jonson attempted to feed the tyre in by hand when at that point the sleeve of his jacket became caught in the machines metal teeth, causing his fingers and right forearm to get dragged into the shredder that was still running.
As the machine did not have an emergency shut off button near enough for Mr Johnson to push all he could do was scream for help at which point Mr Arabaje was able to switch the machine off and free Mr Johnson.
As a result of his injury at work Mr Johnson lost his right arm from below his elbow and had to undergo extensive surgery which included skin graphs from his legs, and a bolt fitted in his elbow.
As there was no emergency stop button close by, the court were told the injuries suffered by Mr Johnson could have been even worse if he had been working alone on the day of the accident which was a regular occurrence.
The investigation carried out by the Health & Safety Executive showed that Mark Arabaje had removed the metal guard on the shredding machine to allow easier access to the metal teeth.
Employer found negligent
Mr Arabajae was sentenced to a four-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay £5,000 compensation to Mr Johnson. Mr Arabajae was also ordered to wear an electronic tag and observe a curfew from 8pm to 6am.
In a victim statement to the court, Mr Johnson, who has not been in work since, said:
“It has knocked me back regarding my mobility and it is a struggle getting around. It has had a massive impact on my home life with my four children. I still suffer pain with the injuries.”
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Guy Widdowson said:
“Nathan Johnson would never have suffered these horrific, life-changing injuries if Mr Arabaje, the company director, had not removed the guard from the tyre-shredder.
“Company directors need to take their health and safety responsibilities seriously to prevent such tragic events occurring in the future. They have a significant role to play in protecting workers from injury at work; and this case demonstrates that such incidents can and do lead to directors being prosecuted if there is evidence of their consent, connivance or neglect to breaches in the law.”