Supplier gave faulty machiner to contractor leading to his death…
A businessman who provided faulty construction equipment that led to the death of a workman has been handed a suspended jail sentence at Guildford Crown Court.
The 47-year-old accident victim and father of six was crushed by a skip loader when it tipped over while he was seated inside it. The skip loader was discovered to be lacking in a safety belt and also had a missing spring which meant the engine cover could not be secured. It was also discovered by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) investigation that the roll-over protection was not operating correctly.
The HSE decided to prosecute the self-employed businessman after learning that he had supplied the unsafe loader as well as a mini-digger to the accident victim who died as a result of the crush injuries he sustained on 28 September 2011.
The accident occurred after the victim decided to use the skip loader to try to lift the mini-digger upright after it had fallen over. As he was in the process of operating the skip loader, it reversed suddenly and was thrown upwards after rolling over some garden waste, it then tipped over and the victim was thrown from his seat and died after being crushed by the machine.
On top of the several safety malfunctions associated with the skip loader, the supplier of the machinery had also failed in his duty to provide any kind of guidance, supervision, training or vital information on how to handle the vehicles properly.
The businessman pleaded guilty to breaching Section 6(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was given a nine month prison sentence (suspended for a year) and ordered to pay £10,000 in compensation to the accident victim’s partner.
HSE Inspector Amanda Huff commented after the sentencing:
“This was a tragic incident that devastated a man’s family and left six children, the youngest only five at the time, without their father.
“The supplier could have prevented the incident by making sure that the skip loader was properly maintained and safe. Skip loaders are at risk of rolling when they are used on uneven ground. Had the machine had a working seat belt and functioning roll-over protection, it is probable the victim would have survived the crash.
“Businesses who hire out mobile plant must ensure that is in a safe condition and provide proper safety and user instructions to the customer. Anyone wanting to hire plant would be well advised to check all the safety features are in place and that clear instructions are available.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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