Brick lifting clamp crushes builder

Grant Prior 11 years ago
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A construction worker suffered serious internal injuries after being crushed in a brick clamp used to load pallets on a delivery lorry.

The botched pick-up led to the Jewson lorry loader operator appearing in court last week

Yeovil Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 18 November 2010, Mark Pratten attempted to use a brick clamp on a lorry crane to lift builder Peter Hoy off the roof of a cabin while he was collecting building materials from a construction site at Mayfield House, High Street, Rode.

The pallet of materials they were collecting was behind an eight foot wall and it was not possible to pick them up normally with the lorry crane they were using.

In trying to guide the crane into place, Hoy climbed onto the roof of the cabin and to get down quickly Pratten tried to lift him with the grab of the crane.

Hoy walked between the arms of the clamp, which was at waist height, in preparation to gain a foot or hand hold.

As he did so, Pratten attempted to move the arms. But he used the wrong switch and inadvertently operated the clamp button.

The arms clamped Hoy’s waist, fracturing his pelvis and causing crush-related internal injuries, including nerve damage. His injuries are so severe that he is still off work.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive that Pratten fell far short of the appropriate standard required of a lorry loader operator despite being fully trained and having more than 20 years’ experience.

Speaking after the prosecution, HSE inspector Helena Tinton said: “Even if the clamp had not been activated, attempting to lift Mr Hoy down from the cabin roof with a brick clamp was in no way safe.

“Two people’s lives have been seriously affected in this incident: Mr Hoy is still suffering from health problems related to his internal injuries and does not yet know when he will be able to return to work. Mr Pratten has lost his job after this action which went against all his training and years of experience.”

Pratten pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 and was fined £1,500 with £1,000 costs.

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