Brighton Magistrates Court heard how, on the 5th March 2019, concrete footings were being poured at a site at Ditchling Common, East Sussex . Due to the soft ground, vehicles could not get close to the work so a concrete pump with a 52-metre boom was used.
However, during the pour, the ground beneath one of the pump outriggers collapsed, causing the concrete pipe and boom to strike the employee, dislocating and fracturing his hip, fracturing his spine and tearing ligaments and muscles.
He was also later diagnosed with a brain injury. He is still undergoing regular physiotherapy, and suffering from post-traumatic stress. The long-term effects of the brain and nerve damage have yet to be ascertained.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive found that the work had not been properly planned, managed or monitored. Although some work had been done to stabilise the ground in the area where the pump was set up, no checks had been made as to the load that the ground could sustain, and no consideration had been given to the size or type of spreader plates that would be required to support the vehicle outriggers.
Axio (Special Works) Limited of Portslade, Brighton pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. It was fined £20,000, plus a victim surcharge of £170 and costs of £5,285.70.
HSE inspector Stephen Green said after the hearing: “The employees injuries are life changing and he could have easily been killed. This serious incident and devastation could have been avoided if basic safe guards had been put in place.”