A construction firm has been ordered to pay £20,000 after a worker sustained multiple leg fractures while installing piles at school.
Jamie North, 49, from Grimsby, underwent two operations and was fitted with a steel frame and had screws fixed on his leg following the incident at Caistor Grammar School in March 2013.
Topcon Construction Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after it discovered the firm had failed to check that work equipment used for cropping piles was used only in suitable conditions, and it was found not to have taken apart a reinforced concrete pile in a safe manner.
Mr North is no longer working in the construction industry and is still receiving treatment on his ankle.
The accident occurred while he was working on the construction of the new science block at the school, which needed pre-cast, concrete-driven foundation piles.
The piles were put in the ground before being cropped using a hydraulic pile cropper, but the hired equipment was only suitable for piles with a single, steel-reinforcing bar and not powerful enough to cut through the concrete and steel ones.
Magistrates heard the crop tool had been used to chip the concrete away, exposing the steel bars for cutting with a disc cutter.
As Mr North guided the cropper over one pile, another pile, which still had a bar intact, twisted and fell over, hitting Mr North and fracturing his leg, the court was told.
The Grimsby firm, which admitted breaching health and safety legislation, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,980 in costs at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court. It must also pay £10,000 to Mr North for his injuries.
Date Published: November 13, 2014
Author: David Brown