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FINAL DEFENDANT SENTENCED OVER EXCAVATOR DEATH

Company failed to act upon HSE guidance on quick hitch safety precautions

Euro Earthworks Ltd has now been sentenced over an incident in which a foreman died when an excavator bucket filled with concrete fell on him at a London construction site in 2007.

The bucket had been positioned directly over the foreman and a site supervisor who narrowly missed being hit by the bucket. The safety pin designed for use with the ‘quick hitch’ (a device attached to the excavator arm used for the rapid changing of attachments) was not in place allowing the bucket to fall.

Magistrates heard that HSE had issued advice on the safe use of quick hitches on excavators in March 2007. Euro Earthworks Ltd was aware of this advice and had made amendments to its written risk assessment but failed to take reasonably practicable steps that would have prevented the incident.

Significant number of quick hitch incidents

City of London Magistrates heard that Euro Earthworks Ltd of Brentford failed to adequately plan, manage and monitor the construction work on site. The company was convicted of breaching HSW Act 1975 Section 2(1) and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,000.

Fellow defendants Hydro Plant Ltd, of Wadsworth Close, Greenford, Brent and Michael Denis Cunningham, of Latimer Road, Eastbourne were sentenced for separate breaches at an earlier hearing in May 2011.

HSE Inspector Loraine Charles said:

“This tragic incident was entirely preventable. There had already been a significant number of incidents involving buckets becoming detached from quick hitches, in particular semi-automatic quick hitches where operators had failed to insert the safety pin.”

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One Response to “FINAL DEFENDANT SENTENCED OVER EXCAVATOR DEATH”

  1. HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 14th SEPTEMBER 2011 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] Euro Earthworks Ltd – fatal accident struck by excavator bucket: £20,000; […]