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Should have used a high-reach

19 Nov 12 Wrong machine selection was at the heart of a potentially lethal demolition accident, a court heard last week.

Warrington-based Excavation & Contracting (UK) Ltd was up in court after part of a stand collapsed onto an excavator driver at Old Trafford Cricket Ground.

A 33-year-old worker from Warrington, who has asked not to be named, suffered serious injuries when a two-tonne concrete slab landed on his vehicle's cab.

 Excavation & Contracting (UK) Ltd was prosecuted on Friday (16 November 2012) by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) following an investigation into the incident at the Talbot Road ground, home to Lancashire County Cricket Club, on 26 April last year.

Trafford Magistrates' Court heard that the company had been hired to demolish a two-tier stand at the ground. However, the work had not been planned properly and the excavator had been positioned too close to the stand being demolished.

The worker sustained fractures to both legs in several places and severe cuts and bruising when a four-metre wide slab fell from the upper floor onto his vehicle.

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Excavation & Contracting (UK) Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 by failing to ensure the safety of workers and failing to plan and carry out the demolition work safely.

The company, of West Quay Road in Warrington, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £12,000 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Alan Pojur said: "The excavator driver was lucky not to have been killed when the two-tonne concrete slab collapsed onto his cab.

"His life was put in danger because Excavation & Contracting (UK) Ltd didn't plan the work properly. They should have arranged for a high-reach excavator to be used so that the stand could be demolished from a safe distance away. It was only after the incident that this safe method of work was implemented.

"Demolition work has the potential to be extremely dangerous so it is vital firms plan projects properly and provide appropriate supervision to make sure workers stay safe."

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