A worker was hit by a falling piece of plant machinery while working on a building site in Rotherham, and Hovington Limited was jailed today for safety violations.
Groundworkers, including the wounded person, were breaking up ground on 4 February 2019 at Arconic Forgings and Extrusions, Sheffield Road, Ickles, Rotherham, using a 13 tonne 360 excavator with a hydraulic breaker attached to an automatic fast hitch as a part of trench work to install new drainage. The excavator’s quick hitch broke, and the breaker became unattached. The breaker came crashing down on the injured worker’s right foot, just missing one ground worker. As a result of the sustained injuries, his right leg was amputated below the knee level.
The company failed to guarantee that a safe method of work was in place when operating near an excavator, there was no clear segregation between people and plant, and no use of a vehicle plant marshal to guarantee the machine was isolated before pedestrians entered the excavator’s working zone, according to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The corporation also neglected to create a designated bucket changing area for changing attachments, which would have reduced the chance of attachments dropping onto people.
Hovington Limited, of Chichester Street, Rochdale, admitted to violating Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The firm was fined £34,000 plus costs of £1,935.84.
“This event might have easily ended in a fatality and could have been averted by simply implementing proper control measures, and safe working practises,” HSE inspector Trisha Elvy said after the hearing.
“Appropriate, well-defined safe work systems should be in place so that anyone who needs to work near excavators can do so safely.”