Information bite 221: Demolition firm fined £200k after worker sustains life-changing injuries

A demolition company has been fined after the operator of an articulated boom type cherry picker became trapped between the vehicle platform rail and the roof of an industrial shed.

A worker contracted by the demolition company was accessing the underside of the roof to remove asbestos sheets and was trapped by his neck between the basket of the machine and a roof truss.

As a result of the incident, the operator suffered life changing injuries which will require lifelong care.

An HSE investigation  found that the vehicle was not suitable for the work undertaken and that it was not fitted with propriety safety devices to avoid the likelihood of operators being crushed.

The risk assessment did not sufficiently identify the entrapment hazard, and there was no effective communication with banksmen on the ground. An inadequate plan led to the operator being trapped for a sustained period of time.

The demolition company pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, Etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £21,838.56.

Speaking after the hearing, the HSE Inspector said: “If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented”.

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