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WORKMAN ‘BURIED ALIVE’ IN UNSUPPORTED TRENCH

Trapped groundworker rescued by defendant and firefighters

Contractor Anthony Hill (Hill Plant Hire T/A) of Sawston, Cambridgeshire has been ordered to pay over £5k in fines and prosecution costs at Cambridge Magistrates Court on 4 March 2010.

The 58-year-old builder was in charge of groundwork on a construction project in October 2007 when a trench collapsed on one of his employees.

Workman fortunate to survive

HSE Principal Inspector Norman Macritchie said: “This worker suffered a broken leg and bruising, and was incredibly fortunate to survive the horror of being buried alive.

These types of easily preventable incidents are all too common and often prove fatal, so it is absolutely essential that employers and contractors ensure they have measures in place to protect their staff.

Groundworks can be extremely dangerous and companies must make sure excavations are properly supported to avoid serious injury, or even death.”

Defendant and firefighters executed dramatic rescue

The court heard that Mark Miller was buried up to his abdomen and felt his left leg break. More earth then collapsed on him and buried him to above his head.

Mr Hill used his excavator to clear upper material and Firefighters carried out final rescue from the 3m deep excavation. 

Andy Cave, defending, said: “Mr Hill has an unblemished record over 30 years of working in the industry.”

Miller said: “If it wasn’t for his skill on the digger, I would not be here today. I am still working for Mr Hill and I will continue to.”

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