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EXCAVATOR DEATH INQUEST

Failure to insert safety pin led to excavator bucket death

Gerald Fox, of Mottingham, died whilst working in Chelsea during August 2007. The bucket of an excavator became detached and fell on him. An inquest jury has now returned a narrative verdict and found that the excavator bucket safety pin had not been in place at the time. After the inquest his wife said: “Somebody forgot to put the safety pin in and they don’t deserve to get away with it. I hope HSE press charges in a court case because someone should answer for it.” 

The inquest also heard evidence from HSE inspector Tarran Hewitt, who said the hydraulics of the excavator were leaking before the incident. He added “this would not have stopped the machine from working but it does mean the insertion of the safety pin becomes more and more important. If the hydraulics are not working then it cannot handle the weight. That’s where the safety pin comes in.”

Comment: The safe design and use of excavators is high on the agenda for regulators and the industry bodies during 2009.

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