MAGISTRATES have ordered bus giant Stagecoach to pay out almost £24,000 over health and safety breaches which led to a South Yorkshire teenager becoming trapped beneath a 14-tonne vehicle.
Ben Burgin, of Penistone, who was 17 at the time of the accident at the Stagecoach Yorkshire garage in Wakefield, Barnsley, suffered head injuries.
He needed restorative plastic surgery on his nose and eye socket, Barnsley magistrates were told.
The court was told that when the accident occurred in September 2009, Mr Burgin was working alongside an experienced fitter to correct a braking fault on a bus that had an air suspension system.
Rather than moving the bus over an inspection pit, they attempted the work with it standing on the garage floor.
Mr Burgin slid under the bus near the front passenger wheel when the air suspension failed, dropping the bus onto him, injuring his face.
Another worker rushed to help and he and the fitter managed to raise the bus enough to free Mr Burgin.
After an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive, Stagecoach subsidiary Yorkshire Traction pleaded guilty to offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £8,473 costs.
HSE inspector Steve Kay, who investigated the incident, 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.”