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Crush Injury Leads To Prosecution For Two Firms

Derbyshire Companies Taken To Court Over Safety Failings


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted two companies involved in planning work at a former mining plant in Derbyshire, after one of the men attempting the task was crushed by falling steelwork.

A 47-year-old employed by Instant Installations on a contract for MMD Mining Machinery Developments at its premises in Somercotes in May 2011 suffered the injuries as he and a colleague were dismantling steelwork that included beams used for running overhead cranes.

They were trying to take down the beam using a scissor lift, with the plan being to remove screws and lower it using the lift.

However, the steel item weighed more than double the maximum load the lift was designed to carry and the pair tried to stabilise it by placing the handrail of the cherry picker on top of the scissor lift under it.

This caused the heavy beam - which weighed more than a tonne - to topple and inflict major head and crush injuries on the victim. More than three years later, he has still not returned to work.

As the beam fell, the scissor lift swayed and nearly toppled, coming close to injuring the second worker on it.

The HSE investigation into the incident revealed that the work had not been properly planned, despite both Instant Installations and MMD Mining Machinery Developments bearing responsibility for this under health and safety laws.

In the hearing at Chesterfield Magistrates' Court, MMD Mining Machinery Developments was fined £26,666 with costs of £8,013 after pleading guilty to breaching regulations 21, 29(1) and 29(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

Instant Installations pleaded guilty to breaching sections 29(1) and 29(2) of the same Act, as well as Regulation 4(3) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. It was fined £20,000 and also had to pay costs of £8,013.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Grayam Barnes commented: "This incident, which saw completely inadequate equipment being used to remove heavy steel beams at height, could easily have resulted in a fatality."

Expert Opinion
This is yet another example of a shocking accident at work involving heavy machinery. In this incident a man suffered serious and life-changing injuries as a result of safety failings committed by his employer.

“Planning work and conducting risk assessments play a critical role in reducing the likelihood of an accident at work. It is crucial employers comply with the latest health and safety regulations and take steps to conduct risk assessments and ensure the appropriate safety measures are in place before any work is conducted by employees.”
Stephen Nye, Partner

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