Two construction companies received fines totaling £120,000 after a groundworker suffered horrific injuries when heavy drainage pipes fell on top of him.
The drainage pipes, each weighing around 160kg, fell on top of Anthony Pennell.
Mr Pennell was rushed to Royal Stoke University Hospital after sustaining several fractures to both sides of his pelvis.
He also had fractured vertebrae and a bleed on the spine after the incident in Fradley Park, Lichfield on 3 September 2019.
Mr Pennell, 32 at the time, spent nine days in hospital before returning to his home in Cleethorpes.
Failure of planning, supervision, and safety
HSE enforcement lawyer Nathan Cook told Telford Magistrates’ Court how Mr Pennell sustained his injuries.
The pipes were suspended on the forks of a telehandler during the process of moving them to a different area of the site.
Although workers transported one pack of pipes safely, the incident happened while moving a second load.
When the telehandler came to a stop, Mr Pennell tried to re-position a dangling skid to lower the pack properly. However, at this point, the load fell on top of him.
The HSE conducted an investigation into HSE Mr Pennell’s employer, R O Donnell Plant & Civil Ltd, and the principal contractor, Readie Construction Ltd.
It concluded that the companies fined didn’t properly plan, appropriately supervise, or carry out the task a safe manner.
The investigation also identified issues with the knowledge and experience of workers responsible for the lifting operations.
Plus, it questioned the companies’ overall management and coordination of the telehandler usage between contractors.
Companies fined for ‘horrific incident’
R O Donnell Plant & Civil Ltd, of New Road, Worlaby, Brigg, Lincolnshire, pleaded guilty to breaching 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. The company receives a fine of £80,000 and an order to pay costs of £3,784.
Readie Construction Ltd, of Falcon Business Centre, Ashton Road, Romford, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. It received a fine of £40,000 and an order to pay costs of £3,784.
HSE inspector Will Gretton said: “This horrific incident could easily have been avoided had the work been properly planned and suitable control measures implemented to properly secure and safely transport the load.
The CIP Construction Health and Safety Manual has guidance about the regulations on lifting operations and equipment.
You can also visit the HSE website for advice and information.
Read the story in full here.