A Barnsley bus firm has been fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following breaches of Health and Safety law which left an apprentice mechanic with serious facial injuries.

17-year-old Ben Burgin was working at a Stagecoach Yorkshire garage in Wakefield when the accident occurred in September 2009.

Mr Burgin was working with an experienced fitter to correct a braking fault on a bus with an air suspension system. The two men attempted to repair the bus on the garage floor, rather than moving it to an inspection pit.

Mr Burgin slid under the bus near the front passenger wheel to make adjustments. Whilst under the bus the air suspension failed, and the bus dropped on him severely injuring his face.

Plastic surgery required after accident

Mr Burgin suffered head injuries, a fractured eye socket and broken nose; he required restorative plastic surgery for his facial injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive led to the prosecution of the Stagecoach subsidiary Yorkshire Traction Company Ltd at Barnsley Magistrates Court.

The firm pleaded guilty to offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £8,473 in costs.

Workplace accidents are more common than people realise

HSE inspecting officer Steve Kay said: “Thankfully, Ben has been able to return to work but he had a painful recovery after suffering a totally needless ordeal.

“When employing young people, it is crucial that firms take particular account of their obvious lack of experience and lack of awareness and risks.

“Risks involved when working on buses with air suspension systems are well-known. Latest guidance has warnings about never going underneath unless buses are properly supported.”

Samantha Hemsley, a solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors’ Serious Injuries Team said: “Workplace accidents are more common than people realise. A lack of training, knowledge and supervision is all too often the cause of injury and in many of the cases we deal with the victims are often young inexperienced employees”