Cherry picker pulled over during power line work

Grant Prior 4 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

Gary Neville £200m Manchester tower gets the final nod

39-storey Deansgate skyscraper complex will be home to a 5-star hotel, luxury flats and offices
16 hours ago

Thames Tideway TBMs placed for big drive

Tunnelling to start later this year on 12km central section - picture special
15 hours ago

Contractor fined over unsafe fleet of cherry pickers

HSE investigation finds lack of maintenance regime
9 hours ago

Network Rail bans retentions to support supply chain

CP6 overhaul sees switch to project bank accounts with Tier 1 firms told to pay in 28 days
2 days ago

ISG clinches £34m Twickenham campus scheme

Firm to deliver 160,000 sq ft teaching block for Richmond upon Thames College
16 hours ago

HB Reavis raids Argent for major Waterloo scheme boss

Joe Martin joins as UK construction director for 1m sq ft Elizabeth House job
1 day ago

Scotland to require sprinklers in all new social housing

Sprinklers to be compulsory in all social housing of over 10 people
1 day ago

Perfect Circle wins £300m Bristol Uni campus

AECOM, Gleeds and Pick Everard JV signed up for Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus
1 day ago

Single alliance plan for all smart motorways work

Highways England floats radical alliancing plan using three main contractors
2 days ago

Berkeley Group warns profits to drop 30% next year

London house builder's profit hits high water mark of £935m
2 days ago

Boost your online presence – join the new Enquirer Directory

New site for suppliers and buyers will showcase their products, services and latest stories
2 months ago

£400m north west small projects framework launched

Procure North West (Lite) framework to cover projects up to £1m and M&E work
2 days ago

More than half of construction workers in London from EU

Brexit alarm over Capital's reliance on foreign labour
2 days ago

Severfield margins restored to 8% target

Steelwork contractor's profit rises by nearly 20% to £23.5m
2 days ago

Galliford Try bags £45m Leeds Beckett sports research hub

Demolition to start next month at the Headingley campus
2 days ago

Mears to help homeless in £75m housing deal

Contractor to buy and refurb 365 homes in Waltham Forest
2 days ago

Sellafield teams cut budget overruns in half

Sellafield clean-up facing £900m overspend despite improved delivery
2 days ago

Network Rail starts race for £5bn trio of trackwork deals

The 10-year alliance deals will be let to designer/contractor JVs
3 days ago

Multiplex bags £400m New Scotland Yard redevelopment

Multiplex to start six-tower Westminster Broadway scheme in January
3 days ago

Kier defends fire safety strategy after Glasgow blaze

Contractors had agreed safeguards in place as repair estimates hit £100m
3 days ago

McCarthy & Stone boss to step down after profit warning

Retirement home builder to streamline after poor spring sales
3 days ago

Capita sells Constructionline to private equity giant

Procurement and supply chain specialist sold for £160m
3 days ago

McLaren lands new HQ for consultant Dar Group

John F Hunt to start demolition work in August to make way for new nine-storey scheme
4 days ago

Countryside strikes deal for 5,000 private rental homes

Deal with family private rental specialist allows Countryside to expand its partnerships business
3 days ago

Balfour Beatty fined £500,000 for white finger exposure

Court hears how workers were exposed to hand-arm vibration risk for nine years
3 days ago

On-site training boost to ease skills shortages

New £22m Construction Skills Fund now open for applications
3 days ago

Chandler promoted to Wates board

Wates MD, Paul Chandler, ushers in nearly £3bn of new business
3 days ago

Legal firm moves into cost consultancy

Blake Morgan hires former Aecom director to head project management and cost consultancy
3 days ago

Fire destroys Kier restoration of Glasgow School of Art

Second major blaze in four years reduces £35m of repair work to ashes
5 days ago

Race starts to build £20m Basildon cinema complex

Basildon town centre’s planned East Square cinema complex up for grabs
4 days ago

Contractor services