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Ludlow worker who lost thumb in accident was offered cash to keep quiet, court told

South Shropshire | News | Published:

A machine's safety guard was not in place on the day of a workplace accident in Ludlow that saw a man lose his thumb, a court was told.  

John Bagley suffered serious injuries to his hand, wrist and forearm when his overalls got caught up in a shot blasting machine at Chris Hazel Haulage in Ludlow, Shrewsbury Crown Court heard.

Mr Bagley claimed that the chain's guard had not been in place on the day of his accident and had not been for some time.

He also accused the company's owner Chris Hazel of pleading with him not to mention the guard was missing and alleged he was also offered a cash sum by Hazel as compensation if he kept quiet. He said he had also received no training for using the machine.

Mr Bagley lost his thumb, had his wrist shattered and fingers and forearm broken, and suffered a hairline fracture on his right arm during the accident on March 4 last year.

Hazel is being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive in connection with the accident. He denies failing to comply with work equipment regulations and failing to adhere to health and safety at work regulations.

During the opening day of the trial yesterday, the court was told Mr Bagley had been working for Hazel for around five years, firstly as a HGV driver before being offered to do some shot blasting work.

Mr Bagley had been working for Hazel for around five years, firstly as a HGV driver before being offered to do some shot blasting work.

During the hearing, Mr Bagley told the jury that despite being offered to do shot blasting work, he had not had any training for it.

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On the afternoon of the accident, Mr Bagley ended up getting his work overalls caught in the machine's chain and got his hand twisted as he tried to get his overalls off, the court heard.

According to Mr Bagley, he did not think the machine was running to begin with.

He said that the chain's guard was not in place that afternoon and had not been for some time.

Mr Bagley said when Hazel discovered he had been involved in the accident, he urged him not to tell anyone the guard was not on.

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Mr Bagley told jurors: "Mr Hazel said you have to tell them the guard was on or it would finish me.

"There was about a 10 to 15 minute wait before the paramedics arrived and when they did Hazel's wife Clair was behind me supporting my back.

"When the paramedics asked me what happened I was hesitant but Clair nudged me so I told them the guard was on the machine because Chris (Hazel) wanted me to say it. I was uncomfortable with Clair behind my back nudging me.

"The paramedics then came to relieve Clair so then when I was just with them I was more comfortable and then I explained to them what had actually happened – that the guard was off the machine but that was what they wanted me to tell them."

It was also alleged shortly after Mr Bagley returned home from hospital, Hazel had offered to pay him £2,000 for the loss of his thumb if he said the guard was on the machine. Hazel denies this.

The case continues.

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