Cherry picker pulled over during power line work

Grant Prior 5 years ago
Share

A West Yorkshire power distribution specialist has been fined after a worker suffered multiple fractures in a cherry picker fall in Hertfordshire.

Nicholas Chenery, 33, of Stowmarket, suffered a compound fracture to the left leg and three fractured vertebrae to his lower spine in the incident in the Buntingford area on 9 August 2012.

He required extensive surgery, including steel pins and skin grafts for his leg fracture and a back brace fitted for his fractured vertebrae, and may need a further operation on a displaced bone in his left ankle.

He was unable to work for several months, although he has now returned.

The Freedom Group of Companies Ltd (FGCL) was prosecuted by the HSE after an investigation found that more could and should have been done to prevent his fall.

Watford Magistrates’ Court heard that the company had been commissioned by a major energy network operator to replace overhead power lines and distribution poles between Cherry Green and Reed in Hertfordshire. The project started on 2 April 2012 and lasted 44 weeks.

On 9 August, FGCL employees, including Chenery, were rigging three overhead lines that were approximately 500 metres apart.

One line was already secured to a distribution pole and a second line was about to be secured.

The second line was secured to the bucket of a cherry picker that carried Chenery, and this was being raised to attach it to the pole.

At the same time, 500 metres away, the line was also being back-tensioned by a dumper truck.

The bucket was approximately 12 metres in the air when the dumper truck pulled the cherry picker over, causing the bucket to fall to the ground with Chenery still inside.

During their investigation, HSE inspectors found that FGCL had fallen well below their own in-house standards regarding the planning, managing and monitoring of such a routine operation.

The company had failed to plan and implement a clear and unambiguous communication system, which was an important element to the task as the two teams working on the project were separated by great distances.

FGCL also failed to ensure the operation was supervised effectively.

Freedom Group of Companies Ltd, of Tingley, West Yorks, was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay £11,272 in costs after pleading guilty to a safety breach.

Speaking after the sentencing hearing, HSE Inspector John Berezansky, said:

“In this instance, the two teams involved in the task were separated by some 500 metres. Radios and mobile phones were provided; however the level of communication was poor and ambiguous, and the supervision of the task was sub-standard.

“FGCL should have ensured that the system they had in place was robust enough to deal with the risk.

“Without such a system in place, and in the absence of appropriate supervision, the workers became exposed to a much higher level of risk throughout the operation – especially Mr Chenery, who was in the most vulnerable position in the cherry picker bucket some 12 metres up in the air.

“He sustained serious injuries as a direct result of FGCL’s failure to manage the risks of this operation.”

The Freedom Group of Companies said: “We deeply regret the serious injury sustained to Nicholas Chenery on 12 August 2012, following the overturning of a Mobile Elevated Working Platform (MEWP) in which he was working while undertaking the stringing of an overhead electricity cable.

“Nick is a valued employee and FGC takes the safety of all employees as its main priority and does not put profit above safety in its priorities and obligations.

“Despite having robust and audited safety systems in place, the site management and the company, on the day, failed in its duty of care to Nick to implement a safe system of work.

“As a learning organisation, and since this incident, FGC has provided additional training in Health and Safety to all levels of management. FCG has also implemented mandatory Director and Senior Management operational site safety tours and audits to ensure safe systems of work.

“Company procedures are also being applied to drive behavioral improvements in the management of health and safety.

“Operational procedures have also been reviewed and improved to prevent any re-occurrence. These are on-going activities in a drive to achieve zero harm.”

Latest news

Shaylor owners sold majority stake months before collapse

Deal to set up Employee Ownership Trust funded by bank loan
3 hours ago

Crossrail station boss becomes Balfour aviation chief

Airport expert Steve O'Sullivan continues 39-year rise through ranks at Balfour
24 mins ago

Plans submitted for £2bn Midlands rail upgrade

Next PM urged to back major expansion of Moor Street station, faster services to Nottingham, Leicester, Hereford and Worcester
2 hours ago

Trio to share £1.4bn London highways upkeep

Framework extended from eight to 12 years to allow firms to invest in staff for efficiency gains
3 hours ago

Inland Homes gets green light to start £620m “urban village”

Major mixed-use scheme to be built at Cheshunt in Hertfordshire
2 hours ago

Rydon clinches £30m Bath Uni car R&D facility

Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems will research next generation engines
10 hours ago

Size of construction disputes drops by half

Contractors shifting from adjudication towards negotiation to resolve rows
10 hours ago

Funding for £350m Wimbledon stadium and housing scheme

£350m Galliard Homes scheme will include 600 homes and new stadium
1 day ago

HS2 managing director to step down

HS2 starts search for successor to Jim Crawford
19 hours ago

Construction slavery victims exploited on sites across London

28 years in jail for crime gang who kept £1.2m in wages owed to workers
1 day ago

Costain scoops United Utilities’ first asset upkeep deal

Deal to maintain water and waste water treatment assets worth £175m over five years
1 day ago

Sureserve sets aside cash after Lakehouse sale

Provisions of £5.4m contained in latest results
1 day ago

Green light for Scotland’s largest regeneration site

Masterplan for Ravenscraig former steelworks redevelopment approved
1 day ago

Fit-out firm BW hires ISG director for third MD role

Max Steward has taken up third MD role in leadership rejig
1 day ago

Winners named for £700m South Wales Metro ECI deals

Balfour Beatty, Alun Griffiths and Siemens Mobility secure first work packages
2 days ago

Utility contractor Fastflow merges with United Living

Merger of utility group and housing maintenance firm creates £400m revenue business
2 days ago

Boost your online presence – join the Enquirer Directory

Site for suppliers and buyers showcases products, services and latest stories
1 year ago

‘Brexodus’ sees site engineer pay rates soar 19%

Salaries surging for site professionals as shortages bite
2 days ago

Welsh contractor Jistcourt goes into administration

Firm goes under just weeks after opening new Bristol office and major contract win
2 days ago

DfE starts bid race for £3bn offsite schools framework

Department for Education will deliver 30 projects a year using MMC
2 days ago

Design unveiled for Commonwealth Games stadium

Birmingham City Council reveals first images of new-look Alexander Stadium
2 days ago

Mayor backs big West London hotel scheme

New landmark Kensington building will deliver 750-bed hotel, 340 serviced flats and 62 affordable homes
2 days ago

Thames tilting bridge shelved over soaring cost

TfL warns bridge linking Canary Wharf to Rotherhithe could have cost £600m
5 days ago

Subcontractors wanted across south east projects

Big names offering work at Newmarket Meet the Buyer event: Register now
2 days ago

Building safety specialist snapped-up for £265m

Banking giant Macquarie Group swoops on Premier Technical Services Group
5 days ago

Balfour Beatty wins £50m Kent substation build

Work to start shortly on high-voltage substation at Littlebrook Power Station
5 days ago

Detailed plans in for £300m Chester shopping scheme

Vinci expected to get go-ahead for enabling works in October
5 days ago

Masterplan for largest area of Ebbsfleet garden city approved

Design codes set out for 4,600-home double village plan
5 days ago

Industry steps-in to save stranded Shaylor trainees

Former rivals pledge to pay university fees for undergrads left with tuition bills by Shaylor
6 days ago

Former Mitie boss joins Thames Tideway board

Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith joins Super Sewer board as non-exec director
5 days ago

Contractor services