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Worker fatally crushed between excavator and dumper

A West Midlands civil engineering firm has been prosecuted after its failure to segregate two work activities resulted in a worker being fatally crushed between two pieces of plant.

RMB Contractors was laying a new concrete slab at incinerator bottom ash processor Ballast Phoenix in Sheffield in December 2014 when the incident happened during the ground preparation stage. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that an old cable duct had to be dug out before the concrete could be laid. A 21-tonne tracked excavator was being used to dig out the duct, and a stationary dump truck was parked behind it.

As the excavator was working back towards the dumper, Darren Richardson was crushed between the two pieces of plant. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Belper, Derbyshire-based RMB Contractors pleaded guilty to breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act at Sheffield Crown Court on 8 January. It was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £24,483 in costs.

RMB Contractors, which claims on its website that it has “developed an expertise [in providing civil engineering solutions for business and industry] that is hard to surpass”, says all its workers is Safety Pass Alliance qualified. The contractor adds that it uses in-house and external professionals to “ensure continuous updating of training”.  

HSE inspector Medani Close said back to back plant activities should be avoided because pedestrians and vehicles could be put at a greater risk of contact. 

“If the two separate work activities cannot be avoided, then the area should be safeguarded and effectively managed with segregation in place, for example using fencing or barriers to delineate the ‘no go’ areas for pedestrians.”

 

Nic Warburton is acting editor, IOSH Magazine

 Nick Warburton is acting editor of IOSH Magazine. He is a former editor of SHP and has also worked on Local Authority Waste and Recycling and Environmental Health Practitioner

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