Farmers have been reminded of the importance of giving young workers “clear and sufficient instruction” following an accident on an English poultry farm.
The incident occurred at Denmead Poultry and Farm Shop, Hampshire, in September last year.
A schoolboy, who was doing casual weekend work at the farm, was seriously injured when collecting split logs from a log splitter with two colleagues.
The cutting wedge came down on his fingers severing two and causing a third to be partially severed. Extensive surgery enable two to be successfully reattached.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the log splitter was not designed to be used by three people and the risks of working as a three-person team when log splitting had not been identified.
The investigation also found there was a failure by Andrew Rafferty – the partner in control of the work activity – to suitably and sufficiently assess the risk of non-machine operators having to put their hands in the danger area of the cutting blade.
Mr Rafferty pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £815 at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court.
HSE inspector Andrew Johnson said: “Young workers who are likely to be new to the workplace need clear and sufficient instruction, training and supervision to enable them to work without putting themselves and other people at risk. This incident could so easily have been avoided had the employer ensured that safe systems of work were in place.”