Worker dies falling from cherry picker. Jail time and fine of £80,000

by Alex on May 29, 2013

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Photo: ianqui

HSE has released another sad story about a demolition worker who tragically fell to his death when his cherry picker was knocked over by a falling steel roof beam in Newcastle.

During a four week trial at Newcastle Crown Court, the jury heard how the fatally injured man was working from a cherry picker, and whilst working with other colleagues in the dismantling of the steel roof structure one of the plate girders struck the cherry picker driver knocking the machine over and causing the driver to fall from his basket resulting in fatal head injuries.

It was found that the directors of the principal contracting and sub contracting firm in question were negligent in ensuring workers were competent at their job before starting and no safe system of work was employed for the dismantling of the steel work, which would have identified the lack of suitable and sufficient lifting plans to carry out the work.

The director of the sub contracting steel company was found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter following the trial. The director had earlier pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) by virtue of Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was sentenced to three years in prison.

The director of the principal contractor involved was found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) by virtue of Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined a total of £30,000 (£15,000 for each offence) and ordered to pay £50,000 costs.

After the case, which was brought by the Crown Prosecution Service, HSE Inspector Emma Scott, said:

“This was a tragedy that could easily have been prevented had a safe system of work been in place.

“Instead Ken Joyce lost his life as a result of collective failures which included not preparing in advance a detailed plan of how the work should be carried out and no lifting plans to ensure the safe removal of the beams.

I hope other companies can learn from this and ensure they take the necessary action to deal with the high risk involved with work of this nature.”

Tragic cases such as these can be avoided by properly assessing the work, and any work activities that have a risk of causing injury need to have a proper safe system of work implemented using a formal risk assessment.

Hands HQ can help you implement your site specific risk assessment and method statement on your construction site. Visit our site today and see for yourself how easy it is to create site specific risk assessments and method statements from any computer in minutes.

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