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TELEHANDLER PROSECUTION

Major contractor fined after reversing telehandler injures workman

BAM Construction Limited (formerly HBG  Construction Limited) of London has been ordered to pay almost £30k in fines a prosecution costs after a telehandler reversed over a construction worker at the £22.5m Willow Place shopping complex in Corby.

The charge concerned failure to effectively plan, organise, control, monitor and review traffic on site including failure to maintain and manage traffic routes.

On 23 August, 2007 a fitter was carrying plasterboard in the opposite direction of the forklift truck when the vehicle reversed over him causing serious injury. The injured workman has still not be able to return to work some 2 years later.

HSE Inspector Mhairi Lockwood said the company “has policies in place but it is vital that they are properly considered, implemented and monitored at site level and throughout the life of the project.” She added that BAM “have been advised previously on workplace transport at this site. All companies must assess the risks when pedestrians and vehicles, such as forklift trucks work in close proximity and take appropriate precautions which are well documented in HSE guidance.”

A spokesperson for BAM Construction said: “The company sincerely regrets the injuries sustained by Mr Roe and hopes he will make a full recovery. We pleaded guilty to the charges at the earliest opportunity. The Magistrate acknowledged that this was an isolated breach and that the company responded properly. Health and safety was and remains a high priority for BAM and we are widely recognised as having one of the best health and safety records in the construction industry. Any accident is one too many and we will continue to strive hard to improve our safety record.”

 Comment: Company standards that are not implemented effectively is a common theme behind many construction accidents. This case highlights the duty of all contractors to plan, manage and monitor work. All three elements are vital to securing safety.

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