A construction company, with experience in specialist civil engineering, has been subject to a fine after the placing boom of a concrete pump hit one of their employees, leaving them with serious injuries.
Brighton Magistrates Court heard details of the incident which involved the pouring of concrete footings at a site at Ditchling Common, East Sussex, which softened the ground and made it so vehicles could not get close to the work. Therefore, a concrete pump, with a 52-metre boom, was used.
On 5 March 2019, during the pour, the ground beneath one of the pump outriggers collapsed, hitting the employee as it did so. He dislocated and fractured his hip, fractured his spine, as well as tore ligaments and muscles. Later on, he was diagnosed with a brain injury, and to this day, he is undergoing regular physiotherapy and suffering from post-traumatic stress. The long-term effects of the brain and nerve damage are unknown at the moment.
An investigation conducted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that this particular work had not undergone the necessary planning, managing and monitoring.
The company did carry out some work to stabilise the ground area, where the pump was positioned during the task. However, there were no checks on how much load the ground could sustain and no consideration of the size or type of spreader plates that were needed to support the vehicle outriggers.
Axio (Special Works) Limited of Portslade, Brighton, was found guilty of breaching Regulation 13 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and were fined £20,000, plus a victim surcharge of £170 and costs of £5,285.70.
Jeremy Sirrell, a Partner at Palmers and a Health and Safety expert, said: “The failure to ensure that the equipment was suitable for use has led to this avoidable incident.
“If you are concerned about your businesses’ safety obligations, then it is important that you seek specialist advice at the earliest convenience.”
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