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Severe hand injuries sustained by an apprentice worker have led to a fine being imposed on Nottingham City Council.

Nottingham Crown Court was told that the apprentice was working at Seagrave Primary School in August 2014, when he was injured trying to unblock a lawnmower. During the process, the worker's hand was caught by the rotating blade, severing his index finger and causing damage to the ligaments, as well as cuts to other fingers.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation following the incident, finding that some of the safety components of the lawnmower had been removed and replaced with their own design, which was not up to the required standard of safety. The council had not considered training requirements of staff so that they would be able to operate the machinery in a safe manner, and had also failed to assess the risks involved. The level of supervision while apprentices were carrying out the mowing was also substandard, said the HSE.

The Council was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and fined £33,000, along with costs of £12,000. Sam Russell, an HSE inspector, said that the worker had suffered life-changing injuries due to the failings of the Council, and the situation could have been prevented.

Employers have a duty of care to all employees, which may require the provision of training, monitoring and supervision so that machinery may be used safely, or the use of PPE and specialist workwear to protect from injury.

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