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Mon May 27 2024

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Demolition grab fatality leads to £175k fine

5 Apr A company in Kent has been fined £175,000 following the death of an employee crushed by a demolition grab.

The grab in Erith Plant Services' yard
The grab in Erith Plant Services' yard

Liam McArdle, from Gravesend, was fatally crushed by an excavator attachment while working for Erith Plant Services Limited on 21st September 2021.

A demolition grab, attached to an excavator, fell onto the 24-year-old while it was being loaded onto a lorry at Erith Plant Services Limited’s workshop in Swanscombe.

A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found that Erith Plant Services had failed to ensure there was a safe method of work while loading and unloading excavators and attachments. The company failed to ensure steps were taken to ensure HGV drivers fully engaged the quick hitch when moving attachments during loading and unloading activities. There was also no defined segregation between vehicles and pedestrians at the firm’s Eastern Quarry workshop, nor was there suitable supervision of work activities.

Erith Plant Services Limited, of Queen Street, Erith, Kent pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £37,804 in costs at Woolwich Crown Court on 27th March 2024.

The victim, Liam McArdle
The victim, Liam McArdle

HSE inspector Joanne Williams said after the hearing: “This tragic death serves as an important reminder that workers need to be trained and that there is always the potential for an attachment to fall during the operation of excavators. Employers need to ensure that work practices are maintained to keep workers away from the danger areas during lifting activities.”

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