Building company fined after employee struck by digger bucket

A building company has been fined for safety failings after an employee broke his back when he was struck by the bucket on a digger.

The firm were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an investigation into the incident at the building site.

The court heard on the 12th January that the company had been hired to install fencing around the estate in January 2014.

The wooden posts were held in place by hand whilst the operator of the digger rested the bucket on top of the post and applied downward pressure on to the wooden post.

on the 16th January 2014, One of the workers was holding one of the posts ready for the digger to push downwards pressure onto the post. The top of the post split which caused the diggers bucket to slip and hit the worker on the shoulder which caused him to fall to the ground.

He suffered significant injuries during this which included a broken vertebra, as a result of this the worker was in hospital for over a week and to this day he still suffers pain because of this injury.

After the HSE have conducted an investigation they found that the company failed to plan, manage and monitor the work. The method statement that the company had prepared had indicated that a piece of equipment called a post driver was going to be used to position the posts. A post driver had been ordered along with a smaller digger but it arrived after the incident had already occurred.

The investigation also found that while a risk assessment had been produced, it made no reference to the risk of working to close to the digger.

The court found the company guilty and they were fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,117 after pleading guilty to a single breach of the provision and use of work equipment regulations 1998.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Ian Whittles said: “The use of excavator vehicles in such a manner is dangerous and is known to cause injury. The serious failure of the company in not managing this job properly led to this avoidable incident and unfortunately the employee suffered as a result.

Regulation 4(3) of the provision and use of work equipment regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is used only for operations for which, and under conditions for which, it is suitable”.