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WORKER PUNISHED FOR UNAUTHORISED PLANT OPERATION

Untrained demo workman crushed co-worker after losing control of excavator 

An employee from Croydon has been prosecuted an incident in January 2011 whilst carrying out demolition work for Sloane Demolition Limited in Kent.

Maidstone Magistrates heard that five workmen were sorting through rubble and reclaiming bricks at a former Hospital in Kent. A two-storey building was being demolished using a 360 excavator  and bricks were placed into the bucket of the excavator which the operator had left switched off but with the ignition key in place.

Mr Devon Stoner climbed into the excavator and began to manouvre it around the site. He was unable to control the machine and caused a wall to collapse trapping a co-worker who suffered serious injuries to his left leg, ankle and shin. 

Mr Stoner was not trained or authorised by Sloane Demolition Ltd to operate the excavator and should not have been driving the machine.

Employees cannot plead ignorance of good health and safety practice

Devon Stoner pleaded guilty to breaching HSW Act Section 7(a) after failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions. He was ordered to undertake 120 hours community service and pay £500 in costs.

HSE Inspector David Fussell said:

“Workplace transport is the second biggest cause of fatal accidents, and it is extremely fortunate that this incident didn’t result in a death. Nationally around 80 people are killed every year, and there are more than 1,500 major injuries.

The fact that serious injury or death can result from the use of machinery and vehicles makes it all the more essential for employees to have respect for, and follow the safe working procedures for workplace transport that have been put in place by their employers.

The HSE will not tolerate employees exposing their colleagues or members of the public to unacceptable risks due to their work practices. There is simply no excuse for employees to plead ignorance of good health and safety practice.”

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