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RUDIMENTARY TRENCH SUPPORT FAILED TO PROTECT

Excavator used to ‘dig out’ trapped workman after excavation collapse

Main Gate Leisure Limited has been prosecuted after a worker suffered serious injuries when a trench collapsed on him during drainage works at a leisure park in Devon on 23 July 2010.

He was working in the excavation when a wall of the two metre deep trench caved in. He was dug out by those at the scene before the emergency services arrived but still suffered multiple fractures to his skull, jaw and cheekbones.

HSE prosecuted the park operators after finding the company failed to adequately plan the work or put the necessary safety measures in place.

Frantic effort were made by staff to release the man who was unconscious. Shovels were used and eventually one of the directors used an excavator to help to “dig him out from the rubble”.

Trench was clearly inadequately supported

Torquay Magistrates heard that workman was working on the trench with two directors of Main Gate Leisure Limited. The walls were “propped-up with plywood and metal plate with a piece of softwood between the two sides holding them up” but this support failed and the side of the trench collapsed.

Main Gate Leisure Limited, of Lady’s Mile Farm, Exeter Road, Dawlish, today pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 31 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. They were fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £2,198 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Jonathan Harris, said:

“The trench was clearly inadequately supported and the plywood and metal plate were no more than a rudimentary attempt to support the trench walls.

Normally trench boxes would be used as shields whenever workers need to briefly enter a trench. These boxes can be rented from hire-companies.

This incident could easily have led to a fatality and shows the vital importance of proper planning and adequate saety measures when carrying out this sort of work.”

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One Response to “RUDIMENTARY TRENCH SUPPORT FAILED TO PROTECT”

  1. HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 30TH MAY 2012 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] RUDIMENTARY TRENCH SUPPORT FAILED TO PROTECT […]