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EXCAVATOR OPERATOR ADMITS SAFETY OFFENCE

Bucket fell from excavator causing death of site engineer

It has been reported by the Birmingham Post that an excavator driver has admitted negligence more than three and half years after the death of site engineer Mark Handford on a building site in Redditch in August 2009.

The operator Jonathan Gold is charged with perverting the course of justice, perjury and failing to ensure the safety of a non-employee. His trial was scheduled to start at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday (11/03/13) when he changed his plea to guilty.

Mr Handford died instantly when the excavator bucket fell and struck him during groundworks on the site. His family had called for a mandatory ban on the type of digger mechanism involved after an inquest jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

Gordon Aspden, prosecuting, is reported to have stated that Gold’s negligence involved failing to lower and retract a hydraulic arm. Judge Paul Farrer QC adjourned sentence until April 11 for reports to be prepared.

The earlier inquest heard evidence from an HSE expert witness who concluded that the main safety pin could not have been in place when the bucket fell. 

Comment

Since this death a range of guidance has been published by HSE and others on the safe use of excavator quick hitches.

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