Falling load leaves worker seriously injured


A construction company has been sentenced for safety breaches after a worker was struck by a falling load from a mechanical excavator.


Britcon (UK) Ltd were 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.


The 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 Mr 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 Midland Road, Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, DN16 1DQ pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £570,000 and ordered to pay £40,054.68 in costs.


After the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Thompson commented: “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”


HSE September 2021

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