In recent court proceedings, a company has been found liable for the death of a worker struck by an excavator. During the night shift on a construction site in Stratford, Kevin Campbell, a site operative, was fatally struck by an excavator mounted vibrator (EMV) attached to a 35-tonne excavator in his work area. When the accident occurred, Mr Campbell had been disconnecting lifting accessories from a metal pile that had just been extracted from the ground when he was crushed against a concrete wall a short distance away. Other workers on site were also put at risk during the accident, as they could also have been struck.
What should have prevented it
This case is a case of negligence. While Clancy Docwra Limited had risk assessments, they failed to ensure that sufficient risk management was carried out on site. The employers failed to ensure the safety so far as reasonably practicable on-site, placing employees at risk and making themselves liable. The operator of the excavator, site supervisor Daniel Walsh, was also found to be guilty, as he failed to take reasonable care for persons on-site at the time. This tragic death could have been prevented had more steadfast health and safety standards been forced on the construction site; all site operatives should have been informed of the specific risks they face when carrying out such tasks. The control measures required of exclusion zones, the importance of communication and the mandatory use of excavator safety levers were simple actions that should have been put in place and their effectiveness monitored.
The court found Clancy Docwra Limited of Coppermill Lane, Harefield, Middlesex guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the HASAWA 1974. The company was fined £1,000,000 and ordered to pay costs of £108,502.30.
Additionally, the excavator operator Daniel Walsh of Eastcote, Orpington, Kent was found guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the HASAWA 1974 and was given a 6-month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £15,000.
Could CRAMS help?
Completing a thorough risk assessment is the only way to ensure your employees are safe at work. With CRAMS at your side it’s easy to identify and control risks, and then communicate those risks to your employees. Constant reviews and our content acknowledgements ensure that employees are updated and fully understand the risks and the structure designed to protect them. Compliance has never been easier than with our software.