Nottinghamshire County Council has been fined £1 million after a disabled member of the public was seriously injured by a vehicle that was collecting branches. This incident happened at the County Park of Rufford Abbey, south of Ollerton.
On June 2015, employees from Nottinghamshire County Council were collecting and transporting braches, using a tractor mounted grab attachment, so they could be burned elsewhere. However, the driver of the tractor did not see the 71 year old man walking through the park, and collided with him. The man sustained serious bruising and injuries to his arms, legs and head.
It turned out later, after an investigation by HSE (the Health and Safety Executive), that Nottinghamshire County Council had failed to implement a safe system of work for this job. They had not segregated the movements of the tractor from the public, they had not trained their employees to the level required to operate the tractor mounted grab attachment (which was not suitable for the job at hand), and they had not trained them to use a banksman. This had led to the accident in which the disabled man got injured,
Nottingham Crown Court gave the Council a fine of £1 million and also ordered them to pay costs of £10,269. Not only was one person injured, but they also endangered other members of the public at the same time, especially those who were with him.
Rufford Abbey belongs to Nottinghamshire County Council, and, according to their own website, is one of Nottinghamshire's favourite attractions, open every day except for Christmas Day, and offering something for everyone - from falconry to Morris dancing, craft courses to children’s trails. The Park itself covers 150 acres of woodlands, meadows and gardens. There is a lake and a Play Village, and the ruins of Rufford Abbey itself. Part of it is a Local Nature Reserve, and the building has a long and varied history.
Click here to read HSE's own published account from 19 April 2017.