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Apprentice suffered broken feet after incorrect wheel removal task

An apprentice who hadn't been provided with training or the right equipment suffered broken feet after a wheel swap job ended badly.

Now his employer has been fined £67,000 by Swansea Magistrates Court, plus £2,930 in costs, after a prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive.

The court heard the HSE investigation found the company, construction vehicle dealer Holt JCB at Port Talbot, did not have any handling equipment for wheels, had not assessed the operation and had not trained workers on how to handle wheels.

The apprentice had been tasked with removing and replacing wheels weighing more than 400kg from a JCB digger, when one fell onto his feet, leaving him with broken bones in both feet.

Holt JCB, of Bristol, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1) of the Manual Handling Regulations 1992.

HSE inspector Steve Richardson said: “This incident could have been prevented if the company had used a mechanical wheel handler costing less than £700. Measures such as this would have been apparent had the task been properly assessed.”

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