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    FATAL ACCIDENT INQUIRY: LOADER DEATH

    Incorrect use of loading shovel contributed to death of workman

    The Aberdeen Press and Journal has reported on Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) in Scotland where Sheriff Paul Crozier has found that inappropriate use of equipment contributed to the death of a Lochaber workman. The finding comes at the conclusion of the inquiry into the death of Alexander Stewart on August 1, 2008.

    Mr Stewart died from injuries received when he was trapped between a loading shovel and plant used for screening crushed aggregates. He was helping to dismantle the equipment at the family-run business in Fort William.

    Death could have been avoided

    The Sheriff found that the death might have been avoided and that inappropriate actions were taking place at the time of the incident, namely:

    • the loader should not have been used for lifting persons;
    • the operator should not have leaned out of the cab whilst a hydraulic lock switch to prevent unintentional movement was not operational;
    • the loader should not have been in use without a working parking brake;
    • the loader should not have been used to lift the screening plant. It was not intended for lifting operations as it had no overload warning device or check valves fitted.
    • the deceased should not have been on top of the screening plant as there had been no proper assessment made of its weight and the load capabilities of the loader.

    The Sheriff concluded:

    “Had such an assessment been carried out, it would have been ascertained that an excavator intended for and suitable for this type of lifting operation or a mobile crane should have been used.”

    Comment

    This death highlights the importance of using construction plant only for the purpose for which it is designed. Any departures from this position must be based on a thorough assessment including consultation with the plant supplier/manufacturer.

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