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    SHEET PILE LIFTING OPERATION NOT PROPERLY PLANNED

    Missing hook safety catch causes sheet to fall from excavator

    Coopers Civil Engineering Ltd  has been held responsible for safety failings that led to a workman suffering multiple and life-changing injuries. The 58 year-old man was struck by a 7m sheet pile on a site in Rother Valley Country Park on 1 August 2012 during refurbishment of a collapsed culvert.

    Sheffield Crown Court heard that an excavator was used to remove sheet piling installed around the culvert to prevent ground collapse. A sheet pile became detached from the hook of the excavator as it was being lowered causing multiple injuries, including a fractured skull and pelvis, several snapped ribs and a punctured lung. 

    HSE found the most likely cause was the inability of the hook to retain the chain because of the missing safety catch. In addition, an exclusion zone around the piling was not maintained whilst the pile was being lifted out.

    Lift should never have been attempted

    Coopers Civil Engineering Ltd, of Main Gate, Knapton, York, was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £6,500 in costs for a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

    After the hearing, HSE Inspector Medani Close said:

    “This employee suffered life-changing injuries because his employer failed to devise a safe system of work for lifting out the sheet piles. The lift should never have been attempted using a hook with a missing safety catch.

    Lifting operations can often put workers at great risk of injury, as well as incurring great costs when they go wrong. It is therefore important to properly resource, plan and organise lifting work to ensure it is carried out safely.”

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