Groundworker ‘should never’ have cut beam that cost him arm

The director of a company who supplied a groundworker who went on to lose his arm after a disc cutter accident has told a court he should never have been tasked with the job.

Earlier this week Cornwall Live reported how Morgan Prosser suffered the horrific injury in spring 2017 while under the watch of Helston -based company MJL Contractors when the cutter kicked back.

MJL Contractors is currently on trial at Truro Crown Court charged with a risk to health and safety offence in a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive.

Prosecuting the case, Sean Brunton, QC, described how the incident took place at the Borough View Wainhomes development in Bodmin and that Mr Prosser was one of the groundworkers managed and supervised by MJL.

The Health and Safety Executive alleges that the accident was preventable and that the task came about after another worker bent reinforced beams and it was decided they’d be cut down to be used at another job.

Mr Brunton told the jury that the task wasn’t a usual one, and that there was no risk assessment carried out, rather Mr Prosser was tasked with cutting them down and left to his own devices before the accident happened.

Giving evidence on Thursday morning was Andrews Coles director of AMC Groundwork South West Ltd.

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Mr Coles told the jury that has business supplies labour to the construction industry and that Mr Prosser was sent to the Wainhomes site where he’d be under the supervision of MJL.

Barrister Sean Brunton QC was asked to describe Mr Prosser, replying “he was very good. He loved the work and the hours and was always wanting to earn money for his holidays”.

Mr Coles confirmed that Mr Prosser had a CSCS card and was ticketed to operate a dumper truck.

He added that he had been shown how to use a disc cutter which Mr Prosser would use on occasions.

Mr Brunton asked Mr Coles if Mr Prosser would ever have used one to cut reinforced beams to which he replied “probably not, not with me anyway”.

Mr Brunton further enquired if he’d expect Mr Prosser to be cutting reinforced beams, Mr Coles saying “definitely not, no”.

Mr Coles added: “I’d have expected the site agent to ask if he’d used a disc cutter and was competent enough with it to cut the reinforced beams.”

Mr Coles denied ever being asked by MJL about Mr Prosser using a disc cutter to cut reinforced beams at the Bodmin site, adding he’d seen him using a disc cutter but “never for that particular job”.

Mr Brunton asked Mr Coles how he felt when he was told about Mr Prosser’s accident.

He said: “It was panic as he was quite badly hurt. I didn’t realise until he rang me he’d been cutting reinforced beams. He shouldn’t have been doing cutting them. Why was he doing that?”

It was confirmed Mr Prosser didn’t have a ticket to operate the disc cutter but there was no law requiring him to do so.

In cross examination Mr Coles agreed that he was never contacted by any of his men complaining they’d been ask to do something by MJL they weren’t comfortable with.

MJL denies any wrongdoing. The trial continues.

Cornwall Live