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Garage owner fined after customer breaks back in fall

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A self-employed garage mechanic was fined after a customer suffered spinal fractures and a slipped disc when he fell into an inspection pit while collecting his vehicle.

The Health and Safety Executive found that Farhad Mashinchi – trading as Gold Star Vehicle Maintenance, Wedgewood Close, Stevenage – had allowed the member of the public into the garage with an open pit “without suitable and sufficient precautions to prevent a fall”.

Stevenage Magistrates’ Court heard that the injured man’s car had been parked in front of a vehicle inspection pit when the incident occurred.

Mashinchi was showing the customer a part fitted under the bonnet when the man attempted to walk around the garage owner and fell into the inspection pit, the HSE said.

The court heard the garage owner had given a verbal warning to the member of the public but he had apparently not heard it.

The man sustained two spinal fractures, a slipped disc, a badly sprained ankle and cuts and swelling.

Mashinchi pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £1,800 and ordered to pay £881 costs.

A £170 victim surcharge was also levied against the company.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Sandra Dias said: “When working in such an environment, with an open inspection pit there is a significant risk of death or serious injury.

“This garage owner relied on verbal warnings and floor markings instead of reasonably practical measures such as covering over the inspection pit or putting a barrier around it which would have prevented this serious fall.”

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