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TELEHANDLER LIFTING OPERATION NOT PROPERLY PLANNED

Falling beam on homebuild project leaves workman in quadriplegic condition

Strata Homes Yorkshire Ltd, of Quay Point, Lakeside, Doncaster has been ordered to pay over £46k in fines and prosecution costs after a construction worker was left paralysed from the chest down when he was crushed by a steel beam.

Anton Burrows, 24, from Dewsbury was working as part of the bricklaying team on construction site in Oxley Road, Huddersfield, on 7 April 2009 when the incident occurred.

Mr Burrows was helping a driver of a telescopic forklift truck to lift the steel beam onto two brick pillars. The beam was landed as intended but as the telehandler withdrew the forks dislodged the beam which fell and struck Mr Burrows.

He suffered extensive injuries, including spinal damage, which resulted in him being left quadriplegic.

Lifting operation unplanned and not supervised

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8 of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £16,062 in costs.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Alasdair Green said:

“The terrible injuries sustained in this incident have changed the way of life for Mr Burrows and his family for ever.”

“Had the lifting operation been properly planned and supervised, in line with the regulations, the Approved Code of Practice and HSE’s guidance, this devastating incident which could have very easily killed someone, would have been avoided.”

“Today’s prosecution must serve to remind all employers of their duties and responsibilities in protecting workers during lifting operations so that others do not suffer in this way.”

Comment

Telehandlers are an invaluable workhorse on the majority of homebuild projects. In most cases they are used with the standard forks.

However, this case highlights the fact that telehandlers are also often used for tasks for which they are not suitable without further precautions and appropriate attachments.

It is good business to utilise the versatility of the telehandler provided the lifting operation is properly planned and supervised.

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