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Sat October 24 2020

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Contractor fined £5,000 after worker is trapped in trench collapse

10 Mar 10 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.

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.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showed that the driver of the excavator had not received suitable training in its use.

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.

"The employee using the excavator should have been properly trained and industry guidance, which recommends providing shoring or trench boxes, should have been followed.

"Companies need to recognise the dangers of excavations and ensure safe systems of work are in place before workers enter excavations."
 

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