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

Liverpool advances £700m Festival Park redevelopment

Willmott Dixon to carry out enabling works around Festival Garden dome base
13 hours ago

Another 152 Carillion staff axed taking job toll to 1,141

Staff told to pack up as fresh wave of job cuts unveiled today
15 hours ago

Mace lands £350m Stevenage town centre revamp

Council picks winning developer for major town centre regeneration
14 hours ago

Construction cartel whistleblowers offered £100k for tip-offs

Competition and Markets Authority targets construction in latest crackdown
17 hours ago

Balfour sells another stake in M25 for £42m

Cash will be used to pay down borrowings as sell-off of infrastructure assets continues
17 hours ago

Major Carillion shareholder considered suing directors

Enquiry hears how investors were "fleeing for the hills" before board admitted problems
22 hours ago

Breedon in talks to buy majority of Lagan Group

Aim-listed materials group in talks to buy part of Belfast-based group.
23 hours ago

Boost your online presence with the new Enquirer Directory

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

Blaze engulfs Icon job in London’s West End

Fire destroys much of a £50m luxury apartment scheme in Great Portland Street
22 hours ago

Sheffield Hallam Uni seeks single construction partner

Selected contractor and consultant will deliver £220m first phase of estate plan
22 hours ago

Scape calls up firms for £2bn civils framework

Balfour Beatty faces fight to keep civil engineering framework place as bidding starts
2 days ago

Kier wins £22m London student halls revamp

University College London's Ramsay Hall student blocks will be refurbed and extended
22 hours ago

Carillion liquidator pledges 7-day redundancy service

Government sets up specialist team to process staff
4 days ago

Carillion Aberdeen bypass project team transferred

57 of 63 staff taken on Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try
4 days ago

MPs demand more evidence from Carillion bosses

Directors face further scrutiny over late payment claims
4 days ago

Scaffold clip falls 20 metres hitting passer-by

Victim left with broken nose and damaged skull
4 days ago

Contracts up for grabs in Birmingham building boom

Big names want to meet new suppliers: Register now
4 days ago

Nearly 80 housing projects win kick-start funding

£45m cash injection to support building up to 7,280 homes on council-owned land.
4 days ago

Are you the best in construction? – Enter the Enquirer awards now

Enquirer awards are voted for by your staff and supply chain
4 days ago

Robertson wins £19m Belper care home

Work to start in April on Derbyshire care home and library project
5 days ago

London’s biggest Boxpark approved

Capital’s third shopping container mall in Wembley gets green light
4 days ago

Axed Carillion staff slam PwC over redundo claims delay

Worried ex-staff face losing their homes
5 days ago

Tribunal victory “blows a hole” in agency payroll model

Unite vows to step up campaign against bogus self-employment
5 days ago

Procure North West issues £2bn build framework bid alert

Bidding to start next month on Liverpool and Manchester building framework
5 days ago

Cladding firms risk fitting poor ACM in post-Grenfell confusion

UK's biggest cladding distributor pulls all systems failing to reach A2 standard
5 days ago
Vivalda Group plc

Briggs and Forrester bullish about building services market

Specialist set to hit £225m turnover after an award winning year
5 days ago

Canadian firm to buy Carillion UK FM contracts

Serco and BGIS deals to save 4,000 support services staff
5 days ago

Wates residential boss leaves after reshuffle

Joanne Jamieson leaves business and is replaced by Richard Shroll
6 days ago

Groundworker loses leg after being hit by tipper truck

Civils firm MV Kelly fined £500,000 after accident on housing site
6 days ago

Morgan Sindall transport chief joins BAM

Bill Gifford takes on new role as Highways Strategic Director at BAM Nuttall
1 week ago

Contractor services