A building firm has been fined £5,000 after a worker was injured and trapped for more than two hours when the trench he was in collapsed.
Vickers Construction of Eaglescliffe, Cleveland, was also ordered to pay costs of £3,178.10 at Darlington Magistrates' Court after it pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc act 1974.
The court heard how on 25 November 2008, an excavator was being used to dig a trench for drainage pipes on a sloping bank at the Allanbrae site, near Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
Construction worker John Taylor was laying pipes when the trench wall collapsed. He was trapped from the waist down for more than two hours and also suffered bruising to his legs.
After the case, HSE inspector Dr Dave Shallow, said: "Trench collapses are a well-known cause of serious injuries and deaths in the construction industry and this incident could have easily been avoided.
"Companies need to recognise the dangers of excavations and ensure safe systems of work are in place before workers enter excavations."