Company fined after worker’s legs crushed

A marine demolition company have been fined £42,000 after an incident occurred that resulted in a worker subsequently having his legs amputated.

The employees leg was trapped when a section of an old metal barge which he was assisting to dismantle in a dry dock  beside the River Thames, in Erith, Kent, fell onto him. He has since had both legs amputated above the knee.

Southwark Crown Court heard the barge was being cut into sections by two workers, including the injured employee, in November 2013. They were undertaking separate cuts in the same section of the barge. One worker finished making a cut to his section and it broke apart. This led to the section the inured worker was working on falling onto him.

The company  pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £42,000 and must pay £8,000 costs.

After the hearing the HSE inspector on the case had this to say:

The victim sustained life changing injuries as a result of the incident and he could have easily been killed in this entirely unforeseeable as could the other worker involved. I would hope this HSE prosecution, and the fine imposed by the court, will be a reminder to employers to ensure that work is always planned, risks are identified and where proportionate measures are identified that can reduce the risk, these are followed.”