Two companies prosecuted after failing to protect workers from pit danger…
A 52-year-old man from Grimsby died after driving a piece of workplace machinery into an unprotected pit at a construction site in Leicester on 12 April 2008.
The man had been using a scissor lift to install panels at the site when he inadvertently drove the machine into the uncovered pit. The vehicle turned over after falling into the pit and the accident victim was thrown out of it – he was taken to hospital but later died as a result of the head injuries he sustained in the accident.
The subsequent HSE investigation discovered that the man’s employee as well as the contractor responsible for hiring him had not acted in accordance with expected safety regulations.
Leicester Crown Court heard that the tragedy could have been avoided if the simple measures of either covering the pit with a piece of metal or simply cordoning it off had been taken.
The man’s employer, a Grimsby-based company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 13(2) and 37(6) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £22,500 with £12,806 costs.
The contractor for the construction work, a firm from Nottingham, also admitted breaching Regulations 22(1)(a) and 37(6) of the same Regulations and was fined £22,500 with £12,674 costs.
HSE Inspector Stephen Farthing spoke after the hearing:
“This was an entirely preventable tragedy. A family has been left without a father because simple precautions were not taken to eliminate what was an obvious hazard.
“Both companies had a duty to plan, manage and monitor the work being carried out under their control, but failed in that duty.”
The HSE has specific guidelines in place for driver safety so that accidents such as this might be avoided.
“Health and Safety News” updates newsletter, click here. The new ‘Health and Safety News’ section on our web site is updated daily with new, up to the minute stories. The stories are also released via Twitter – why not follow us on Twitter? and receive new stories as and when they happen?