Construction Site Worker Prosecuted Over Phone Use

Construction Worker Fined £2,500 Following Site Incident


A construction worker has been handed a £2,500 fine after being found guilty of causing injury to a colleague.

Gary Draper was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive following an incident at a building site in Milton Keynes, where a fellow worker was hit on the head by a bucket attached to a digger Mr Draper was operating.

He failed to notice the staff member because he was on his phone and HSE inspector Stephen Manley said the incident "could have easily been avoided if the operator had followed site rules".

"Construction site vehicles are extremely powerful and, if the operator becomes distracted, can be highly dangerous," he stated, adding those in control of machinery need to be as attentive as road users and not be distracted by using mobile phones.

Milton Keynes Magistrates Court was told Mr Draper was working with a dumper truck driver to collect and transport construction materials. Mr Draper, who was on the phone at the time, rotated the body of the digger and, not noticing the presence of the driver, struck him on the side of the head with the excavator's metal bucket.

The victim, who did not want to be named, suffered a punctured and collapsed lung and multiple jaw fractures, causing him to spend two weeks in hospital and not return to work for over a year. He also requires further surgery on his jaw as a result of the incident, which occurred in December 2012.

Mr Draper, of Oakpits Way in Rushden, Northamptonshire, was ordered to pay costs of £1,554 in addition to the £2,500 compensation following a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Mr Manley said the incident highlighted the need for construction workers to not become complacent while on site and ensure they follow necessary safety rules, especially when operating vehicles that can weigh up to 40 tonnes.

Expert Opinion
This was a horrendous accident and one which could have been prevented. The worker suffered very serious injuries when another worker was not abiding to health and safety guidelines and was distracted whilst on a mobile phone.

“This case highlights the importance of safety guidelines being followed which, like many we are involved in, shows the terrible consequences that can arise when workers allow themselves to be distracted.

“The construction industry is a particularly dangerous sector where workers face numerous risks if preventative steps are not taken. It is vital that construction workers learn important lessons from this case to prevent a similar incident from occurring again in the future.”
Stephen Nye, Partner