Digger driver fined after excavator bucket injures colleague

Grant Prior 10 years ago
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A digger driver for a Nottinghamshire demolition contractor has been sentenced after his colleague suffered severe injuries when he was hit by a falling excavator bucket on his first day on site.

Labourer James Wilson, of Misterton, was working for Bloom Plant Ltd on a demolition site on Kilton Road, Worksop, on 10 January 2011.

Excavator driver Paul Batty, who was also employed by Bloom Plant, was re-attaching the four tonne excavator bucket to the boom of his machine when it fell and slid down a pile of rubble, landing on Wilson and leaving him with major crush injuries.

Wilson, who was 46 when the incident happened lost his left eye and part of his scalp.

He also broke his eye socket, cheekbone, jaw, nose, left collarbone, several ribs and his left leg. He also punctured a lung and severed the nerves on his bottom lip.

Wilson was in a coma for two weeks and had to have a tracheotomy to help him breathe. He also needed extensive reconstructive surgery. He is still undergoing surgery, has not been able to return to work and is unlikely to for the foreseeable future.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Bloom Plant Ltd had no safe systems of work in place and had not given Wilson adequate information, instruction, training or supervision including adequate warnings of the hazards involved when working around plant.

Mansfield Magistrates’ Court was told that employees should have been excluded from the area while the bucket was being re-attached and a safety pin used to secure it in place.

During its investigation HSE found Batty failed to take either of these preventative measures.

Batty, of Ordsall, Retford, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was sentenced to 250 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay a £200 contribution towards costs.

Bloom Plant Ltd, of East Markham, Newark, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and the case was committed to Crown Court for sentencing at a later date.

After the hearing HSE inspector Kevin Wilson said: “Mr Wilson suffered appalling injuries and was extremely lucky to survive. He was put in a position of grave danger by Mr Batty, who re-attached the bucket without ensuring the area was clear of other people and not in a safe position on level ground.

“Bloom Plant Ltd should have provided safe systems of work for both Mr Batty and Mr Wilson with better instruction, information, training and supervision, especially as the operations being carried out were known to have serious risks.”

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