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Demolition firm fined after worker crushed by falling steelwork

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A plant hire and demolition firm has been fined £10,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries when he was crushed beneath falling steelwork.


On 11 March 2013 the 39-year-old man from Barnsley, who does not wish to be named, suffered a fractured sternum and vertebrae when a steel frame he was dismantling collapsed on top of him. 

HSE’s investigation found the man’s employer, HCL Equipment Contracts Limited, failed to adequately plan and manage the work to dismantle a large aggregate mixer at a former block works in Shawell near Lutterworth in Leicestershire.

Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard the injured man and a colleague used ladders to access the top of the steelwork which was seven metres high.

Both wore harnesses and lanyards, which were the incorrect type, and used propane gas cutting equipment to cut the steelwork into pieces, before dropping them through a gap in the centre of the frame into a designated area.

After clearing various parts of the steelwork, the men began to cut through a standing conveyor, with the intention of weakening it so it would fall onto a platform and they could continue the dismantling.

The injured man was finishing a cut made by his colleague when the conveyor began to fall. He was unable to get out of the way of the 380kg frame and it struck him. HSE found that no safe escape route was planned.  

He suffered a fractured sternum, two broken vertebrae, eight fractured ribs, broken teeth and required 58 stitches in a head wound.

The Derbyshire firm was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £491 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

“HCL Equipment Contracts Limited was responsible for the welfare of its workers and for ensuring the dismantling work was carried out in a safe manner,” said HSE inspector Tony Mitchell. “Our investigation found that if this work had been properly planned and risk assessed, and sufficient training given, it could have been avoided.”

 

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