Worker hit as sheet pile falls from excavator

Grant Prior 3 years ago
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Britcon (UK) Ltd has been fined £570,000 for safety breaches after a worker was struck by a falling load from a mechanical excavator.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that Britcon was appointed as a contractor to construct a surge pit as part of a renewal and refurbishment project at the McCain’s Foods (GB) Limited site at Havers Hill in Scarborough. Part of the process involved removing sheet piles from the ground.

An HSE investigation found that on 21 March 2018, 66-year-old Stephen Gouldthorpe was assisting with cleaning sheet piles as they were removed from the surge pit by a Doosan DX 225 LC3, 360-degree excavator.

The excavator had an attachment known as an EMV 300 pile attachment fitted to remove the sheet piles from the ground. The mechanical excavator was removing a seven-metre sheet pile weighing approximately 190 kg to a lay down area when a safety chain slipped causing the pile to fall and strike Gouldthorpe.

He suffered a fractured left tibia and fibula and ankle, a fractured right clavicle, seven fractured ribs, pulmonary contusion and fractured vertebrae.

Britcon (UK) Ltd of Scunthorpe pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £570,000 and ordered to pay £40,054.68 in costs.

A Britcon spokesperson said: “We acknowledge and accept the decision of the court and offer our sincere apologies for the injured individual.

“Operating a safe working environment is a number one priority for Britcon and we regret that on this occasion, our high safety standards were not met.

“Since this incident, the managing director and senior management structure at Britcon has completely changed and we have invested significantly in our focus on health and safety practices within the business.”

After the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Thompson added: “There was insufficient supervision and communication during the lifting operations. There was no specific exclusion zone in place and workers had to approach the sheet pile to clean it.

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out the correct control measures and safe working practices.”

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