Worker loses leg in wind farm horror

Grant Prior 10 years ago
Share

A groundworks company has been fined for safety failings after a 20 year-old worker had to have a leg amputated when it was crushed during the construction of Griffin Wind Farm in Perth and Kinross.

Gregor Steele, from Perthshire, suffered severe injuries when his left leg was crushed between a tractor pulling a heavy water bowser and the bucket of a loading shovel on 3 September 2010.

Steele, who had been employed by Gallagher Groundworks since leaving school, was airlifted to hospital where he underwent a nine-hour operation in an attempt to save his leg.

Despite a second operation, this proved unsuccessful and his leg was amputated above the knee on 10 September 2010.

Perth Sheriff Court hear that between 13 August and 3 September 2010 the company failed to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for the work being carried out and failed to ensure that the machinery being used was appropriate for the work, was properly maintained and that safety equipment was fully operative.

Steele had positioned the tractor to empty the bowser and used the handbrake on it. There was no parking brake, as this had been disabled by Gallagher Groundwork’s mechanic around five months previously.

As Steele stood between the tractor and the loading shovel, the tractor was dragged backwards by the weight of the bowser, pinning him between the two.

HSE concluded Gallagher Groundworks had failed to ensure that the tractor was capable of safely towing the weight of the loaded water bowser or ensure its ‘parking lock’ braking system was working correctly.

The tractor had a maximum towable mass of three tonnes, well below the weight of the full bowser, estimated at around 12 tonnes.

In addition, the bowser’s drum brakes were in a poor state of repair and could not be fitted to the tractor because the connecting hose was missing.

Gallagher Groundworks of Crieff, was fined £32,000 after pleading guilty to a safety breach.

Steele was unable to work for two years. He has since been fitted with a prosthetic limb and has returned to work for Gallaghers using an automatic tractor.

Following the case, HSE Inspector Kerry Elliot, said: “This was an entirely avoidable incident and the failures by Gallagher Groundworks led directly to this life-changing injury sustained by a young man, aged just 20 at the time of the incident.

“The equipment was not suitable in combination for the work it was being put to and furthermore was poorly maintained with the parking lock actually being disabled rather than repaired.

“Mr Steele has finally been able to return to work but he will endure the after effects of this incident for the rest of his life.”

Latest news

Taylor Wimpey chief honoured with CBE

Jennie Daly recognised in King's Birthday honours
20 hours ago

Geoffrey Osborne supply chain hit for £26m

More than 500 suppliers and subcontractors left holding unpaid bills
2 days ago

SME contractors agree 4% pay rise for site workers

Workers will also get an extra day of holiday
2 days ago

Labour to mothball £320m A27 job to fix potholes

Manifesto confirms Arundel Bypass canned as "poor value for money"
2 days ago

Lendlease’s £1.9bn Smithfield Birmingham scheme approved

Initial work to start later this year despite questions over Lendlease's degree of involvement
2 days ago

Crest Nicholson rejects £650m Bellway bid

Second Bellway approach rebuffed
2 days ago

Hill submits £800m East London estate rebuild plan

Over 1,900 homes to be built in five phase at Teviot Estate in Poplar
3 days ago

Plan approved for 8,500-seat Edinburgh indoor arena

Construction expected to start next year once a contractor is appointed
2 days ago

Statom starts on £25m Bristol Airport precast car park

Major work package on transport upgrade being overseen by Griffiths Farrans JV
3 days ago

Build problems plunge Crest Nicholson to a £31m loss

House builder unearths more defects on completed sites
3 days ago

Rebooted Amey lifts contract win rate to 1 in 3 bids

Amey chief says firm exceeded expectations in first year under new owners
3 days ago

BAM Nuttall fined £2.3m after worker drowned

Court hears how series of safety failures led to tragedy
4 days ago

OCU buys Scottish civils contractor RJ McLeod

Deal takes multi-utility infrastructure specialist revenue to over £800m
4 days ago

£220m plan to restore secret wartime tunnels approved

Tunnels under High Holborn to become cultural exhibition space
4 days ago

Galliford Try wins £69m Scottish school job

Deal sealed on Paisley Grammar School project in Renfrewshire
3 days ago

Balfour wins design for £690m Skye transmission job

Main work contract for 137km power line to be awarded later this year
4 days ago

Student and resi developer Fortis goes under

Cheshire based developer follows construction arm into liquidation
4 days ago

Construction output falls for third month running

Heavy rain and strong winds blamed for sharp fall in activity in April
4 days ago

Plan in for Leeds 27-storey block of flats

390 flats planned at former Morgan Sindall office site
4 days ago

Firms readied for £1.5bn Parliament estate upkeep deal

Invitation to tender due to go out next month
5 days ago

Amey switches kit supplier

Deal with HSS was worth £24.5m a year to rental specialist
4 days ago

Track workers scatter to avoid runaway rail trolley

Track trolley careers 1km towards work site
4 days ago

Direct delivery model pays off as Murphy profit soars to £67m

Group operating margin jumps from 3% to 5% in record year
5 days ago

Ex-Galliard boss to lead Battersea next building phase

Don O’Sullivan joins as plans advance to start phase 3C of power station redevelopment
5 days ago

£100m Digbeth 33-storey flats job out to bid

483 flats will be delivered for Clarion housing association
5 days ago

Van Elle fined £233,000 after piling rig kills driver

Court hears how tragedy was caused by poorly maintained plant
5 days ago

Renew buys utilities contractor Excalon

Infrastructure giant expand into electricity transmission market with £26m deal
5 days ago

Planning for new homes plunges to record low

Home builders call for urgent action from incoming government
5 days ago

JTRE starts £400m 21-floor London tower scheme

Office block and 64 affordable homes to be built at 220 Blackfriars Road site
6 days ago

R G Carter construction profits up despite 24% revenue fall

Selective client choice help profit jump to £6m from £1m previously
6 days ago

Contractor services