Company Fined After Steelwork Collapses On Worker

HSE Says Work At Leicestershire Site Was Not Properly Planned


A 39-year-old man suffered life-changing injuries when he was crushed by falling steelwork at a site in Shawell, Lutterworth in Leicestershire last year.

The unnamed worker had been attempting to dismantle some framework that was supporting a heavy aggregate mixer.

He was employed by HCL Equipment Contracts of Somercotes, Derbyshire, which admitted to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £10,000.

The man sustained eight fractured ribs, two broken vertebrae, a fractured sternum, broken teeth and a serious head wound when the 380kg frame landed on him.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), companies should always produce a method statement when there is a risk of an uncontrolled collapse during the dismantling process.

Having conducted an investigation into this particular case, the regulator ruled that there were "serious flaws" in the way HCL Equipment Contracts instructed its workers to complete this task.
Inspectors found that the men used ladders to reach the top of the steelwork, which was seven metres high.

Although both used lanyards and harnesses in order to prevent a fall, the HSE concluded that these were not fit for purpose.

The men were expected to use cutting equipment to break the steel down into small pieces and then drop the tools through a gap in the centre of the frame so they could be picked up below.

It emerged that the injured man was unable to get out of the way as the structure started to drop and no safe escape route had been planned.

Speaking after a hearing at Leicester Magistrates' Court, HSE representative Tony Mitchell suggested the employee had been let down by the company.

"HCL Equipment Contracts was responsible for the welfare of its workers and for ensuring the dismantling work was carried out in a safe manner," he commented.

"Our investigation found that if this work had been properly planned and risk assessed and sufficient training given, it could have been avoided."