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Mid Wales firm fined £180,000 after worker lost both legs in accident

Mid Wales | News | Published:

A company run by a prominent Mid Wales businessman and racehorse owner has been fined £180,000 after a worker lost both his legs.

Emrys Hughes, 65, was struck by a shovel loading machine at Sundorne Products (Llanidloes) Ltd, and had to have both legs amputated above the knees.

The company is run by director James Potter and his daughter Debbie, from Welshpool.

The pair represented the company at Mold Crown Court yesterday where the company was fined for breaching health and safety laws. It was also ordered to pay £7,650 costs.

Mr Hughes was hit as he walked into the yard in Bryn Postrg, Llanidloes on November 16, 2015.

He was badly injured and was left in hospital until April 2016 and has had to give up caring for his flock of sheep.

The court heard the yard was "an accident waiting to happen" because it had no system to separate pedestrians and moving vehicles and no pedestrian walkways.

Prosecutor Craig Morris said the company fell well below the required standard and failed to implement practises recognised in the industry to keep pedestrians and vehicles apart.

An investigator viewed CCTV footage from the yard for the previous two weeks and saw about 90 instances where there were moving vehicles in close proximity to pedestrians in the yard.

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Judge Niclas Parry said the financial penalty was not intended to reflect the devastating injuries suffered by Mr Hughes and said the events which happened were "truly shocking".

Judge Parry said the driver of the loading shovel had been simply unaware of the presence of Mr Hughes walking in the yard when he was struck.

"He had not seen him due to a significant blind spot," he said.

Mr Potter, who owns Potter's Recycling, which has bases in Welshpool and Newtown among others, was in court with his daughter.

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Ian Dixie, for the company, said it was accepted that Mr Hughes suffered truly life-changing injuries and they continued to support him until the civil claim was settled.

He said there had been no complaints by employees and the HSE had inspected the site and not drawn any issues to the company's attention.

The directors believed that things were being dealt with properly but the accident brought home to them that they were not.

It had brought about "a wholesale and rigorous look" at all systems within the company, he said.

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