Man fined after schoolboy has fingers severed at Denmead farm shop

Andrew Rafferty from Denmead Poultry.
Andrew Rafferty from Denmead Poultry.
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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A SCHOOLBOY had his fingers severed while working in a Denmead farm shop, a court heard.

Andrew Rafferty, a partner of Denmead Poultry and Farm Shop, appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates Court yesterday after being charged with failing to discharge general health, safety and welfare duty to an employee.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found the schoolboy, who was doing casual weekend work at the shop on Woods Edge, was seriously injured when collecting split logs from a log splitter with two colleagues.

The cutting wedge came down on his fingers cutting off two and causing a third to be partially severed in September last year.

Extensive surgery enabled two fingers to be re-attached.

The HSE found the log splitter was not designed to be used by three people and the risks of working as a three-person team when carrying out the log splitting had not been identified.

The investigation also found there was a failure by Rafferty, the partner in control of the work activity, to suitably and sufficiently assess the risk of non-machine operators having to put their hands in the danger area of the cutting blade.

Rafferty pleaded guilty to the charge on November 10 and was yesterday fined £815 by magistrates. He must also pay £81 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Johnson said: ‘Young workers who are likely to be new to the workplace need clear and sufficient instruction, training and supervision to enable them to work without putting themselves and other people at risk.

‘This incident could so easily have been avoided had the employer ensured that safe systems of work were in place. ‘Duty-holders must be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.’