Fairline handed massive fine after worker's hand crushed

The luxury yacht firm based in Oundle appeared before magistrates charged with breaching health and safety law

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 5:12 pm
Fairline produces luxury yachts from its base in Oundle. Image: Getty

Fairline have been fined nearly a quarter of a million pounds after a court heard how a worker's hand was crushed during a lifting operation.

The Oundle-based motor yacht manufacturer appeared before magistrates yesterday (Tuesday, October 26) to admit one charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

In a case brought by the Health and Safety Executive, the court in Leicester heard how, on December 3, 2018, a male employee suffered serious crush injuries to his right hand during the lifting of a storage cage at the firm's manufacturing facility at Nene Valley Business Park, Oundle.

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Some of the boats on Fairline's production line.

The court was told that an overhead crane was used because there was no goods lift in the manufacturing unit. As the cage was lifted it began to tip and fall in the direction of the employee. The cage trapped his hand against a boat trolley causing serious crushing injuries to the employee’s dominant right hand.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that the lifting operation was not properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised or carried out in a safe manner.

During yesterday's hearing, Fairline pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £230,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,410.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Aaron Butel said: “When undertaking lifting operations involving lifting equipment companies should ensure that they are always properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards."

Fairline Boats began yachtbuilding in 1967 and previously had a base in Corby but that closed when the company plunged into administration in 2015, putting more than 450 jobs at risk. The assets were bought by two Russian investors and the site in Oundle stayed open, operating under the new company called Fairline Yachts. Previous celebrity customers reportedly include Celine Dion, rally driver Colin McRae and Dragons’ Den television show host Theo Paphitis.