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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charity fined for safety breach

This news post is about 10 years old

Volunteer lost two fingers because charity breached health and safety rules

Health and safety at work legislation must be taken seriously - Sheriff Kevin Veal

An equine charity has been fined £6,000 under health and safety legislation after a volunteer lost a thumb and finger in an accident.

Mark Findlater was using an unguarded circular saw at Mountains Animal Sanctuary Trust in Glen Ogil near Forfar, in February 2013 when the incident happened.

The organisation admitted having no risk assessments in place and failing to give training to volunteers and staff using the saw.

Forfar Sheriff Court was told a scheduled health and safety visit was cancelled just weeks before which would almost certainly have led to a prohibition notice being placed on the machine.

The trust told it had the court it “tendered an unqualified public apology” to Findlater.

“The charity had recognised the need for a more active health and safety regime and it wouldn’t have happened if the external consultant engaged to assess outbuildings and machinery had not failed to attend the previous week,” the charity’s counsel told the court.

Sheriff Kevin Veal said the level of penalty imposed by the court will not affect the civil compensation to which Findlater is entitled.

He added: “This case is yet another sad reminder that the obligations imposed in terms of the health and safety at work legislation must be taken seriously.

“The failure to act appropriately has the potential for serious and lifelong injury, the injuries in this case very properly having been labelled as severe.”

Founded in 1982 by the late Alan Fraser, a former racing driver and animal lover, the trust looks after and rehomes donkeys and horses and is the biggest centre of its kind in Scotland.