A VALE construction company has been fined £12,000 after an employee was crushed by an excavator and left with life-changing injuries.
Thomas Plumb, from Evesham, was in a coma for ten days and in hospital for seven weeks when he was run over by a reversing excavator on a site in Gretton, near Cheltenham, on May 10 last year.
The 27-year-old’s right leg was shattered and he has since undergone extensive surgery, which includes bone and skin grafts and putting metal rods and screws in his leg, knee and ankle.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated SD Launchbury Ltd, Mr Plumb’s employer, about the incident and the company, based on the High Street in Evesham, appeared in court on Monday (July 7).
Cheltenham Magistrates Court heard how the HSE found SD Launchbury hadn’t carried out a proper assessment on the site and how there was no segregation or barriers between dangerous moving plant and pedestrians.
The excavator did not have adequate rear view mirrors, its warning beacon was not working and the operator’s vision was obscured by the counterbalance on the vehicle, the court was also told.
It also came to light that workers had not been provided with information or instructions about working around excavators, not given protective equipment and work on the site wasn’t properly supervised.
SD Launchbury, whose headquarters are in Murcot, Oxfordshire, was also ordered to pay a further £913 in costs after they pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
HSE inspector Kate Leftly said: “Thomas Plumb suffered life-changing injuries which could have been avoided if SD Launchbury had properly assessed the risk posed by the excavator and appropriate controls, including segregation of
vehicles and pedestrians and the provision of adequate visibility aids, had been put in place
“Each year, around ten people in the construction industry die as a result of being struck by moving plant. In addition, there are hundreds of preventable incidents and injuries.”
Information on construction site safety is available on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/construction