£150,000 Fine for Construction Firm Following Three Health & Safety Breaches

A UK subsidiary of a construction and quarrying equipment manufacturer has been fined £150,000 after a worker was crushed to death.

On 14th July 2016, a worker for Terex was working in the stockyard area of the company’s assembly plant, attempting to move a concrete jaw crusher that was due to be collected. The worker, who was an experienced forklift operator, was using a remote control pendant attached to a control box to move the track-mounted crushing machine. The worker was stood within a 750mm gap between the 50 tonne machine, and another tracked machine.

According to a security guard who was involved in the incident on the site, the operator was working within this narrow space when the machine began to slew round as it overturned on its tracks. The security guard tried to alert the operator by shouting, and reached for the emergency stop button, but both men became trapped.

The operator was crushed between the two machines, suffering fatal chest injuries, which he succumbed to three days after the incident. The security guard received a puncture wound to his arm.

Terex GB pleaded guilty to three charges from the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI). They pleaded guilty to breaching Article 4(1) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, which requires employers to ensure, so far as it reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees.

Terex also pleaded guilty to breaching article 5(1) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, which requires every employer to ensure that persons not in their employment are not exposed to risks to their health and safety. Finally, they were charged for breaching Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000, which requires  employers to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees at work.

During sentencing, the judge commented that although Terex GB took a responsible attitude to health and safety, in this case the company “did not come up to their usual high standards”. As a result, Terex GB were fined £50,000 for each of the three breaches of health and safety legislation. They were also charged with corporate manslaughter for the death of the operator, however the death was allowed to remain on the books as the company pleaded guilty to the offences.

HSENI inspector, Kyle Carrick, commented “Steven’s tragic death could easily have been avoided if his employer had properly considered the risks associated with the movement of mobile plant within the stockyard. Risk assessment is a relatively straightforward process. It simply involved identifying the risks and putting measures in place to manage them.”

He continued “In this case careful consideration as to the layout of the stockyard would have gone some way to preventing this tragic incident from occurring. Manoeuvring mobile plant using handled controllers poses significant risks if operators cannot safely maintain good separation distances during the movement of such equipment.”

 

Source: Health and Safety at Work, £150,000 fine after Terex worker fatally trapped by 50 tonne machine, 2nd July 2019. Read the full article.

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