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Tue October 19 2021

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Britcon fined £570k after piling injury

30 Sep Britcon (UK) Ltd has to pay out more than £600,000 in fines and costs for safety breaches after a worker was struck by a sheet pile falling load from an excavator.

The incident happened in 2018 when Britcon (UK) Ltd was digging a surge pit as part of a refurbishment project at McCain’s Foods in Havers Hill, Scarborough. Part of the process involved removing sheet piles from the ground.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that, an on 21st March 2018, 66-year-old Stephen Gouldthorpe was helping to clean the sheet piles as they were removed from the surge pit. The Doosan DX 225 LC3 excavator had an EMV 300 pile attachment fitted to pull the steel sheets from the ground.

The subsequent Health & Safety Investigation established that it was removing a seven-metre sheet pile weighing approximately 190 kg to a lay down area when a safety chain slipped, causing the pile to fall and strike Stephen Gouldthorpe.

He suffered a fractured left tibia and fibula and ankle, a fractured right clavicle, seven fractured ribs, pulmonary contusion and fractured vertebrae.

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Britcon (UK) Ltd of Midland Road, Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, DN16 1DQ pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £570,000 and ordered to pay £40,054.68 in costs.

HSE inspector Paul Thompson said after the hearing: “There was insufficient supervision and communication during the lifting operations. There was no specific exclusion zone in place and workers had to approach the sheet pile to clean it. This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out the correct control measures and safe working practices.”

A Britcon spokesperson said after the fine was handed down: “We acknowledge and accept the decision of the court and offer our sincere apologies for the injured individual. Operating a safe working environment is a number one priority for Britcon and we regret that on this occasion, our high safety standards were not met.

"Since this incident, the managing director and senior management structure at Britcon has completely changed and we have invested significantly in our focus on health and safety practices within the business. Britcon has since achieved gold awards from RoSPA for the last two years, the BSC merit safety award and joined the Working Well Together Committee for Yorkshire and Humberside regions. Britcon also maintains ISO 9001, ISO 45001 and ISO 14001 accreditations.”

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