Cement firm admits health and safety violations caused accident leading to severe facial injuries

Materials giant Lafarge Cement has been fined £200,000 for health and safety violations after a quarry worker suffered severe facial injuries.

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday, the firm pleaded guilty to two offences in relation to the accident - failing to provide employees with adequate training, instruction and supervision and failing to make suitable risk assessment.

After falling into an electric fan at Lafarge's Dunbar Works in East Lothian in January 2007, Stuart Richardson underwent surgery for skeletal damage to his face and had an ear amputated. He is left unable to eat and drink properly and scarred arms and rib cage.

Richardson's injuries were caused by the quarry's stacker machine, which crushes limestone. While helping a colleague with the machine's motor, he became untangled in the motor fan, which had been left uncovered.

Following the accident, Lafarge improved its staff training and tightened safety procedures, and Richardson has since returned to work for the company as a reliability inspector.

Sheriff Kenneth Maciver told the court: “This was a wholly avoidable accident, that is accepted by the company quite properly, and I was impressed by the way the company have made no excuses as is regularly the case.”