A demolitions company has been heavily fined by the courts after a worker was seriously injured by an excavator bucket at work.
Mr James Wilson was on his first day working as a labourer at Bloom Plant Limited on 10 January 2011 when he suffered the horrific workplace accident. On the day in question Mr Wilson was standing at the bottom of a pile of rubble, with an excavator about to start work shifting the rubble. His colleague was attaching a four-tonne bucket to the front of an excavator machine but as he was doing so the bucket became loosened and slid down the pile of rubble. It hit Mr Wilson, causing him extensive injuries, including losing his left eye, part of his scalp, and breaking his eye socket, cheekbone, jaw, nose, left collarbone, several ribs and his left leg. He also suffered a punctured lung and damage to his lip. As a result of his injuries Mr Wilson was in a coma for two weeks and needed extensive reconstructive surgery to rebuild his damaged face. It is not currently known whether Mr Wilson has or will claim personal injury as a result of his accident.
The Health and Safety Executive subsequently investigated the accident and found that there had been a number of health and safety breaches by the company, including:
- A failure to provide Mr Wilson with adequate information, instruction, training
- A failure to adequately supervise Mr Wilson
- A failure to provide suitable equipment
- A failure to implement a safe system of work
The case came to the Nottingham Crown Court on 22 November 2013. Bloom Plant Limited pleaded guilty to a breach of s.2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £40,000, as well as being ordered to pay the costs of the prosecution to the tune of £27,500.
HSE Inspector Mr Kevin Wilson stated after the court case: “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.”
Chris Hadrill, a solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Businesses have an obligation to ensure that the welfare of their employees isn’t compromised by poor workplace practices – not only can injuries at work cost businesses money in fines and civil lawsuits but they can potentially substantially affect the worker’s life itself.”