Hochtief fined £266,000 for dam death

Grant Prior 8 years ago

Hochtief has been fined £266,000 after admitting the poor state of a telehandler on its Glendoe hydro project led to the death of a construction worker.

The German giant was fined at Inverness Sheriff Court following the death of Ondrej Hladik who was employed by a company contracted to work on the Hochtief project.

The court heard that on 22 September 2008, Hladik was driving a telehandler on the site of the Glendoe hydro project near Fort Augustus, where Hochtief was building a new dam and turbine station.

The telehandler which Hladik was driving was in extremely poor condition.

The most significant of many defects was that a large window which could have saved his life was missing.

It is believed that the boom lowered onto and crushed Hladik when he was leaning through the missing window. The incident could not have occurred had the protective window been in place.

Following the conviction, Elaine Taylor, Head of the Health and Safety Division, said: “By providing for use by workers on the site a piece of equipment that was in such poor condition, Hochtief Construction AG exposed them to a significant risk to their health and safety, Sadly, for Mr Hladik and his family, that risk materialised in the loss of his life.

“Hochtief did not have in place a system to ensure that its plant was adequately inspected and maintained and this resulted in a vehicle being used on site when it was in an appalling condition   Mr Hladik’s death was entirely avoidable had Hochtief complied with health and safety legislation.

Following the case, HSE Inspector John Shelton said: “The telehandler involved in the incident was the most poorly maintained construction vehicle of its type I have ever seen in over 30 years service as an HSE Inspector. It should never have been allowed near any construction site.

“All plant machinery should be properly maintained – contractors must be able to demonstrate that this is the case on their sites.

“This tragic incident should have been avoided.”

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