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Demolition contractor fined for dropped digger bucket accident

25 Nov 13 A Nottinghamshire demolition contractor has been fined £40,000 after a worker suffered severe injuries when he was hit by a falling excavator bucket on his first day on site.

Labourer James Wilson, of Misterton, was working for Bloom Plant Ltd on a demolition site on Kilton Road, Worksop, on 10 January 2011.

Excavator driver Paul Batty, who was also employed by Bloom Plant Ltd, was re-attaching the four tonne excavator bucket to the boom of his machine when it fell and slid down a pile of rubble, landing on Mr Wilson and leaving him with major crush injuries.

Mr Wilson, who was 46 when the incident happened, lost his left eye and part of his scalp.  He also broke his eye socket, cheekbone, jaw, nose, left collarbone, several ribs and his left leg. He also punctured a lung and severed the nerves on his bottom lip. He was in a coma for two weeks and had to have a tracheotomy to help him breathe. He needed extensive reconstructive surgery and is still receiving medical treatment.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that Bloom Plant Ltd had no safe systems of work in place and had not given Mr Wilson adequate information, instruction, training or supervision including adequate warnings of the hazards involved when working around plant.

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Nottingham Crown Court was told that employees should have been excluded from the area while the bucket was being re-attached and a safety pin used to secure it in place.

Bloom Plant Ltd, of Askham Road, East Markham, Newark, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc act 1974 by failing to provide and maintain safe systems of work and to provide adequate information, instruction, training or supervision. It was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £27,500.

At an earlier hearing at Mansfield Magistrates' Court last month, Paul Batty – the excavator operator – pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to take reasonable care of the health and safety of others. He was sentenced to 250 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay a £200 contribution towards costs.

After the hearing HSE inspector Kevin Wilson said: “Mr Wilson suffered appalling injuries and was extremely lucky to survive.  Bloom Plant Ltd should have provided safe systems of work with better instruction, information, training and supervision, especially as the operations being carried out were known to have serious risks. Instead, Mr Wilson was put in a position of grave danger.”

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