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    Steps not taken to keep young worker safe distance from excavator

    It has been reported by the St Albans Review that a demolition site manager has been given a suspended prison sentence after he was found guilty of health and safety failings which led to the death of a young labourer in July 2011 near St Albans, Herts.

    Robert Shore, aged 20, was struck by a piece of concrete which fell from the bucket of an excavator striking his head and causing fatal injuries.

    HSE investigators alleged that site manager Christopher Langton failed to take adequate steps to ensure the safety of Mr Shore, who was new to the job and inexperienced in working on demolition projects.

    The court heard that Mr Langton was operating the excavator when the incident occurred. The prosecution argued that the young labourer should not have been anywhere near the machine and Mr Langton should have taken steps to make sure he was in a safety area behind a barrier where he was at a safe distance from the excavator arm.

    Death not intended by defendant

    Mr Langton was found guilty at the end of a trial where he had pleaded not guilty to an offence of failing to discharge a duty to which he was subject to by virtue of Section 7 of the health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

    The Crown said:

    “He didn’t mean to kill Robert Shore, it was a dreadful accident but the prosecution say it was completely preventable. He failed to take measures he knew he should have taken and were required.”

    Passing sentence on Mr Langton, trial Judge Stephen Warner told him:

    “You will have to live with the knowledge that it was your actions which caused his untimely death.”

    The court heard that the tragedy had taken a “terrible toll” on Langton changing him from someone who before the accident had been cheerful to a man who was negative and withdrawn.

    Judge Warner sentenced him to five months imprisonment, which he suspended for 18 months and ordered that he pay £3500 towards the cost of the prosecution.


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