Case dropped after delay by saftey watchdogs

Blackpool Magistrates' Court
Blackpool Magistrates' Court
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A hospital laundryman who broke his arm at work had his case dropped because it took too long to reach court.

A judge sitting at Blackpool Magistrates Court decided the delay by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in bringing proceedings against Blackpool NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for Blackpool Victoria Hospital, was too long.

The HSE investigated hospital after laundry staff member Daniel Earnshaw suffered a broken arm after he tried to remove an obstruction from a conveyor belt.

The accident took place in December 2011 but a summons from the HSE was only received by the hospital in September 2013.

The Trust successfully applied for the proceedings against it to be halted because of the delay.

It won its application but District Judge Edward Barr refused to order £10,000 costs against the HSE.

Giving his decision, the judge said: “I feel there has been an abuse of process.

“There has been a significant delay in this matter putting it lightly.

“There is also evidence Mr Earnshaw may have been the architect of his own misfortune.”

The hearing was told that had a trial gone ahead the Trust would have argued the laundryman had breached his work guidelines by going underneath the machine to try and dislodge an article with a knife.

The HSE maintained the machine was not properly guarded and the delay in issuing proceedings when the investigation was passed from one inspector to another did not alter their case.

The judge added the delay was too long and that a fair trial of the Trust could not take place.