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LOADER UNDER REPAIR FATALLY INJURED PLANT FITTER

Loss of hydraulic pressure caused fatal fall of loader arm crushing workman

Hydraline Engineering Ltd has been ordered to pay £60,000 in fines and prosecution costs after a workman was died whilst working beneath a wheeled loader.

Mark Palmer, aged 46, was working under the arm of the vehicle when the hydraulic system lost pressure. This caused the loading arm to fall crushing him against the vehicle frame in March 2008.

Stafford Crown Court heard that Hydraline failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and insufficient control measures to stop the arm falling in the event of a loss of hydraulic pressure.

The HSE investigation also found Hydraline had given Mr Palmer insufficient training with regard to the risks when working with hydraulic machinery. Instead he had picked up knowledge while on the job.

Load tested supporting device required

Hydraline Engineering pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 costs by Stafford Crown Court.

Mr Palmer’s widow, Toni Palmer, said:

“We are pleased that after nearly three years the company has finally decided to accept responsibility for Mark’s accident. We hope that lessons can be learned from what happened to Mark and that no other family has to go through what we have gone through over the last three years.”

HSE inspector Wayne Owen said:

“It is a tragedy for Mr Palmer’s family that his death could have been prevented if Hydraline Engineering Ltd had taken the time to properly consider the risks.

When carrying out work under hydraulically-supported loads, it is vital that a thorough risk assessment is carried out beforehand and that suitable control measures are taken to minimise the significant dangers created by this type of work.

Had the company provided a suitable load tested support device, this would, in conjunction with a safe system of work, have stopped the loading arm falling onto Mr Palmer – and prevented his death.”

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