£180,000 Fine Following Death at Construction Site


3 mins

Posted on 23 Nov 2014

A property development firm and a contractor have been ordered to pay a total of over £180,000 for safety failings after a worker was killed whilst driving a dumper truck during construction works.

The dumper truck fell into a 6.5 metre deep and completely unguarded excavation, overturned and landed directly on top of the worker who was killed instantly.

The firm, and the contractor working on the site at the time, were sentenced after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified serious safety breaches in their operations.

The HSE investigation found that despite operations being underway for some three weeks at the site, there were no measures in place to prevent people or vehicles falling into the excavation, or to prevent any collapse of the excavation faces on to those working below ground.

In addition, none of the five workers on site were used to operating plant machinery, such as excavators and dumpers, as large as those they were asked to use here. Neither did they have relevant construction experience despite being tasked with digging such a large excavation.

The seat belt on the machine the deceased was driving was not operational at the time of the incident, and his colleagues also stated they would not usually wear seatbelts when operating the machines.

The court was told the range of issues were all contributory factors in the death, and that standards at the site fell well below those expected.

The firm was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £28,033 in costs after being found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulations 37(6) and 31(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

The contractor was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,500 in costs after being found guilty of breaching Regulation 37(6) and Regulation 31(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

Recommendations

  • Conduct a health and safety audit of the work site to identify any risks to the operatives 
  • Conduct and record risk assessment identifying significant risks to the operatives
  • Have detailed safe systems of work in place when working 
  • Ensure all operatives follow safe systems of working
  • Ensure operatives have suitable information, instruction and training to do the work safely

Further detailed information can be found on the HSE website.  

Doyle Clayton can provide support with the development of safe systems of work when working on site. For further information, contact Sally Beck

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