Digger driver jailed after builder crushed by excavator bucket

Grant Prior 5 years ago
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A construction director has been jailed for ten months after an excavator he was operating killed a worker.

An HSE picture of the accident scene
An HSE picture of the accident scene

Robert Harvey, sole director and employee of Front Row Builders Ltd was sentenced after an employee, Nicholas Hall was crushed to death by an excavator bucket which Harvey was operating.

The victim was pinned against the wall of an excavation pit for a vehicle wash bay that was under construction for Peter Lawless Road Planing Limited at Whistleberry Road, Blantyre.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard that on 7 May 2016 work was being carried out by Front Row Builders employees to build a wall within an excavation.

Harvey operated an excavator to lower cement and blocks down into the hole for three other men who were working in it.

Harvey tipped the bucket to empty the mortar contents and shouted to Hall to ‘scrape the rest out with a shovel’.

Hall was pinned against the wall by the excavator bucket and died of blunt force injuries to his chest and abdomen.

An HSE investigation  found that Harvey had failed to undertake a sufficient assessment of the risks to those who had been instructed to work with him.

He operated a long reach excavator without receiving the appropriate training or certification and he instructed Hall, who was working within the excavation, to remove mortar from the bucket.

Harvey of Glasgow pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was given a 10 month custodial sentence.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Helen Diamond said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.

“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the death of this worker could have been prevented.”

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