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Medway fined over park staff safety failings

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A stark warning has been sent out to councils over safety and training after a man had two fingers partially severed by a grass mower.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) took action against Medway Council, which has been fined£75,000 and£6,761 costs after pleading guilty to three breaches of health and safety legislation.

On 15 September 2006, Donald Brown, a green-keeper who worked at Deangate Ridge Golf & Sports Complex, was trying to mend a tractor-drawn mower. The safety-switch cut-out failed to work as a collegue turned on the engine and Mr Brown had to have the last two fingers on his right hand amputated.

'No routine maintenance schedule'

The HSE investigation showed that the seven-cylinder mower had no routine maintenance schedule, a protective shield was missing, and the safety guard underneath was damaged to such an extent as to render it useless. None of the green-keeping staff had received any training on its safe use.

David Fussell, HSE inspector, said: "The council was aware of the danger of unguarded machinery and had been advised in the clearest terms by consultants. Their failure to act on this advice was a major contributory factor towards this incident. It is further clear that there was a systemic failure to train staff and to provide maintenance of the machinery.”

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