Worker has legs broken by 22-tonne excavator

Grant Prior 12 years ago

A construction worker had both legs broken when a 22-tonne excavator reversed over him on a site in Leeds.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court court heard that the 58-year-old man from Barnsley suffered severe crush injuries when the excavator backed into him as he erected boundary fencing on June 30 2008.

The accident landed his employer Jack Lunn (Construction) Ltd of Pudsey and specialist contractor Fastsource Ltd of Hunslet in court.

On the day of the incident, a Fastsource employee was operating the excavator along the site access road.

The driver was aware other workers were on site and a Fastsource colleague had been told to act as banksman.

As the injured worker was fixing a fencing panel, the excavator drove past him toward the site entrance. He then heard the excavator reversing back down the driveway.

As he was wearing a high-visibility vest and the excavator driver had passed him only moments before, the man believed he was in no danger.

He also believed the site manager and banksman knew of his position as they were both at the site entrance and could see down the access road.

But the court heard despite this the excavator hit the worker as it reversed, causing him to fall and the machine ran over his legs just below the knee.

Since the incident the man has undergone two operations to set broken bones, a ten-hour operation to graft muscle and further skin graft procedures and he he now uses an electric wheelchair for mobility.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Sarah Lee, said: “The danger of collisions between heavy plant and pedestrians on construction sites is well known in the industry and the need for vehicles to reverse should be avoided.

“This incident was entirely preventable. If the simple precaution of segregation of vehicles and pedestrians had been put in place by Jack Lunn Ltd or they had suspended vehicle movements while fencing was being erected, this worker would not have suffered such appalling injuries.

“Similarly if a smaller excavator had been chosen by Fastsource, the driver would not have needed to reverse down the access road.”

Jack Lunn (Construction) was fined £8,000 with £6,338.50 in costs and Fastsource Ltd was also fined £8,000 with £6,338.50 in costs.

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