A construction company has been prosecuted over safety failings in which a worker suffered severe leg injuries when he was hit by a reversing excavator.
Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court heard Thomas Plumb’s leg was shattered after being struck by the vehicle on a site in Gretton in May last year.
The 27-year-old was in a coma for 10 days and spent seven weeks in hospital, the court was told. He has had several operations including bone and skin grafts, as well as procedures to insert metal rods and screws in his leg, knee and ankle.
Worcestershire-based SD Launchbury Ltd admitted a breach to health and safety regulations and was ordered to pay a £12,000 fine and £913 in costs.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the firm had not performed a proper risk assessment on the site.
Other failings included:
- not having a trained banksman in attendance or the proper site supervision;
- the operator’s direct field of vision being obscured by the counterbalance on the vehicle;
- no segregation or barriers between the plant and pedestrians;
- a lack of rear view mirrors and visual aids on the excavator;
- a broken warning beacon.
The investigation also found workers had not been provided with information or instructions about working around excavators or given high-vis personal protective equipment.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Kate Leftly described Mr Plumb’s injuries as “life changing”.
She said the incident could have been prevented if SD Launchbury had properly assessed the risks and put the appropriate controls in force.
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Date Published: July 12, 2014
Author: David Brown