£10,000 fine for Campbeltown hotel partnership for health and safety breach

Published Date: 

22 Nov 2012 - 16:33

A hotel partnership in Campbeltown has pled guilty to a health and safety breach which led to a 16 year old girl severely burning her hand while using a rotary iron. The Craigard Partnership was reported by Argyll and Bute Council following the incident in July 2011.

Today (Thu 22 Nov) in the Sheriff Court in Campbeltown the partnership that owns and operates the hotel was fined £10,000 reduced from £15,000 on account of the plea.

The teenager was employed to work at The Craigard House Hotel during school holidays as a chambermaid to cover for staff absence. Shortly after arriving at the hotel on her first morning at work, she was put to work in the laundry using a rotary iron. The machine works by pressing a foot pedal which lowers a heated element onto a rotating roller. After being shown how to iron a pillowcase by another member of staff, she was left unsupervised to continue the laundry.

A faulty foot pedal initially prevented the iron working correctly and as the teenager looked to determine the cause of the problem, she placed her hand on the roller at the same time as the heated element lowered, trapping her fingers in the machine.

She received full thickness burns to the index, middle and ring fingers of her right hand and required plastic surgery. She now has permanent scarring and suffers from constant pain.

During the following investigation, Argyll and Bute Council’s environmental health team found there were no health and safety policies or written risk assessments in place at the time of the incident. New employees at the hotel were only give verbal basic health and safety instructions when they started work there. The iron had been bought second hand fourteen years previously without the manufacturer’s instructions which would have highlighted that there was an acute danger of burning.

Chair of the Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee, Councillor Sandy Taylor said, “This terrible incident and the fine imposed serve as a warning to all hotels and other businesses about the importance of effective health and safety training and supervision, particularly when there are young people employed to work with machinery.

“The risks to health and safety must be identified, precautions put in place and rules explained to staff if injuries like this are to be avoided.

“My sympathy goes to the teenager involved whose life has been affected by what happened to her.”