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Dropped load crushes driver’s legs

19 Nov 10 A botched operation to unload building rubble crushed a man’s legs, putting him in hospital for six months.

London-based McGrath Bros (Waste Control) Ltd was fined £14,000 for the incident that took place on 10 January 2008.

The victim was a driver employed by McGrath Bros. He was unloading steel frames from a delivery lorry with two colleagues at a site at Debden Wharf, River Road, in Barking. The frames were resting on top of building rubble inside the truck and the men attempted to lift one frame using a crane and chains.

While it was being unloaded, one of the chains slipped causing the hoisted frame to slip and fall back into the truck, crushing the victim's legs as he became trapped between the two 700kg steel-fabricated frames.

McGrath Bros (Waste Control) Ltd of McGrath House, Hepscott Road, Hackney, had been making large steel frames at its Hackney site and transporting them to the Debden Wharf site.

The frames, which individually measured 9m by 1.6m by 30cm, had a total weight of up to 1.4t.

The man suffered nine fractures in his legs and he had to spend six months in hospital and nursing homes and was off work for 14 months.

At City of London Magistrates' Court, McGrath (Waste Control) Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £7,447 in costs.

HSE inspector Kevin Smith said: "This was a very distressing incident which could and should have been avoided. Instead, a man was left with terrible injuries as a result of a badly planned lifting operation. The company failed in its most basic duty to protect this worker. This case should serve as a timely reminder to firms that all aspects of work need risk assessments which examine all of the relevant risks and are communicated to everyone involved. It can ruin lives when these simple precautions are not taken."

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