A council has been fined after its health and safety failings led a man to have a 'traumatic amputation' when his arm became trapped in a machine. 

South Lanarkshire Council pleaded guilty to a charge under health and safety legislation at Hamilton Sheriff Court.

The court heard that on the morning of February 22, 2019, a road worker and his colleague were setting up a road chipping machine on the B7078 near junction 11 of the M74.

Waste and debris that should have been removed from the machine the previous day had to be cleared before they could use it, so the worker started the machine to clear it.

To remove the debris, a tool inside the machine started turning.

The 38-year-old worker spotted some debris and moved the guard, which was not fixed by the bolt, and put his gloved hand in to clear it.

The screw caught his hand and pulled it into the machine and his arm became trapped.

A 999 response was called to the incident, and firefighters had to dismantle the machine to free the man who was then airlifted to hospital.

He has since had to have his arm amputated. 

The Health and Safety Executive investigation that followed found that the mesh guard intended to prevent access to the rotating tool had not been fixed in place.

Experts determined that even if the fixings had been attached it was still 'reasonably foreseeable' that they may not be used and therefore it still posed a risk.

The injured worker had no formal training on the machine and his knowledge came from on-the-job training and experience.

South Lanarkshire Council accepted that between September 5, 2018 and February 22, 2019, they had failed to provide and maintain plant and a system of work that was safe and without risks to employees using the machine.

They also accepted that they didn’t provide the necessary information, instruction, training and supervision.

They also failed to provide a system of work for the moving and cleaning by hand of any internal components and ensure that the rotating auger had a guard fixed in place to prevent contact with it.

The authority was fined £90,000. 

Debbie Carroll, who leads health and safety investigations for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), said: "This accident could have been avoided if the systems of work in place at the time had been more robust in ensuring workers were protected from harm from their use of this machine. 

“By failing to maintain plant and provide the appropriate training, South Lanarkshire Council left their employees in unacceptable risk.

“This prosecution should remind other employers that failing to keep their employees safe can have serious consequences and they will be held accountable for this failure.”