AR Haulage Limited, a small haulage business, was fined after an employee sustained fatal injuries when he was struck on the head by the bucket of an excavator.
Lanark Sheriff Court heard that on 11 April 2018, three employees were working to clear a yard of scrap and to reposition a number of large and small concrete blocks within the yard using an excavator. One of the employees was acting as ‘slinger’, attaching and removing chains for moving the concrete blocks. The operator of the excavator believed the employee was not in the immediate vicinity and moved the boom of the excavator with the bucket of the excavator fatally striking the worker on the head. The exact cause of this is not clear but may have been due to the excavator operator inadvertently knocking one of the controls in the cab of the excavator.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that there was no safe system of work in place for the task of clearing and tidying the yard. There was also no suitable and sufficient risk assessment. Adequate information, instruction, training and supervision had not been provided.
AR Haulage Limited, Hope Street, Lanark pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 2(2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £26,250.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Allison Aitken said: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, which could so easily have been avoided had safe working practices been in place to manage the risks to those working in the vicinity of the excavator.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards”.
Source HSE Website 12/05/2021
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