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WORKER FELL FROM ASPHALT LAYING MACHINE

Improvised place of work leaves operator paralysed below the waist

A construction company which specialises in laying roadways has been fined after an employee fell from an asphalt laying machine in November 2016.

Dumfries Sheriff Court heard the employee of M & W Tarmacadam Contractors Limited working at the Arkleton Estate, Langholm Dumfriesshire was standing on the ‘bonnet’ of the asphalt laying machine to cut the branches of overhanging trees when he fell to the ground.

Darren Mundell sustained a fractured back and damaged spinal cord causing permanent paralysis from the waist down.

Planning found to be deficient

HSE investigators found that the company failed to plan the task of cutting the overhanging branches and this resulted in an employee using the bonnet of the tar laying machine which was not a safe place to work.

  • M & W Tarmacadam Contractor Ltd – of Main Street, Stavely, Kendal was fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Kirstin Lynchahon said:

“The company failings resulted in serious and life changing injuries which could have easily been prevented had the company planned the work at height.

Planning the branch cutting activity would have included an assessment of the risks and either avoidance of working at height using long reach tools or measures being put in place to prevent a fall.

Work at height is the biggest single cause of fatal and serious injury in the construction industry, particularly on small projects.”

 

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