Construction company fined after worker suffered life-changing injuries

A construction company (Hovington Ltd) Was sentenced today for safety breaches after an employee had been struck by a falling piece of plant equipment while working on a construction site in Rotherham.

Sheffield Magistrates’ court heard that on 4th February 2019, groundworkers, including the injured person, had been breaking out the ground using a 13 tonne 360 excavator with a hydraulic breaker attached as part of trench work to put in new drainage.

The breaker became detached and fell, narrowly missing one employee, and landed on the injured worker’s foot. His injury led to the amputation of his right leg below the knee.

An investigation was carried out by the health and safety executive (HSE) Hovington Ltd failed to make certain that a safe method of work was in place when operating within the area of the excavator, there was no defined segregation between workers and equipment and no banksman was used.

Hovington Ltd also failed to enforce a committed bucket changing vicinity to change attachments to minimise the chance of attachments falling onto workers.

Hovington Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the health and safety at work act 1974.  The company was fined £34,000 and ordered to pay £1,935.84 in costs.

After the hearing, the HSE inspector Trisha Elvy commented: “This incident could have easily resulted in a fatality and could have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices”.

“There should be suitable, defined safe systems of work so that persons who need to work in close proximity to excavators can do so safely.”