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EXCAVATOR DRIVER AND EMPLOYER BOTH PROSECUTED

Parties failed to exclude persons from danger area and use bucket ‘safety pin’

Bloom Plant Ltd and an employee have appeared in court after a workman suffered severe injuries when he was struck by a falling excavator bucket during his first day on a demolition site in Worksop on 10 January 2011.

Excavator driver Paul Batty was re-attaching a four tonne excavator bucket to the boom of his machine when it fell and slid on a pile of rubble, landing on Mr Wilson leaving him with major crush injuries.

The injured man lost his left eye and part of his scalp. He also broke his eye socket, cheekbone, jaw, nose, left collarbone, several ribs and his left leg. He needed extensive reconstructive surgery and has not been able to return to work.

HSE investigators found no safe system of work in place and that the injured man had not been provided with adequate information, instruction, training or supervision including adequate warnings of the hazards involved when working around plant.

Mansfield Magistrates heard (3 October) that people should have been excluded from the area while the bucket was being re-attached and a safety pin used to secure it in place. Batty failed to take either of these preventative measures.

Workman suffered appalling injuries and was extremely lucky to survive

Paul Nathan Batty, of Retford, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to take reasonable care of the health and safety of others. He was sentenced to 250 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay a £200 contribution towards costs.

Bloom Plant Ltd, of Newark, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc act 1974 by failing to provide and maintain safe systems of work and to provide adequate information, instruction, training or supervision. The case was committed to Crown Court for sentencing at a later date.

After the hearing HSE inspector Kevin Wilson said:

“Mr Wilson suffered appalling injuries and was extremely lucky to survive. He was put in a position of grave danger by Mr Batty, who re-attached the bucket without ensuring the area was clear of other people and not in a safe position on level ground.

Bloom Plant Ltd should have provided safe systems of work for both Mr Batty and Mr Wilson with better instruction, information, training and supervision, especially as the operations being carried out were known to have serious risks.”

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