On the 30th June 2015 a 42 year-old unnamed employee was working nearby a trailer on a Buchan Concrete Solutions’ Drakelow site in Burton-on-Trent. He was working next to where concrete blocks were being moved when tragedy struck.
Another worker was in the process of moving some wooden struts that were supporting the concrete blocks. One of the extremely heavy concrete blocks became dislodged and fell off a forklift truck and onto the 42 year old employee.
Although the concrete block thankfully missed his head, it did crush one of his legs. With the sheer weight of the concrete block, the man’s foot was severely crushed beyond repair, and was later amputated.
Following on from the harrowing incident, Buchan Concrete Solutions faced the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) damning investigation and subsequent findings at the Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates court.
The HSE condemned the concrete company’s lack of supervision and lack of proper planning for the unloading of the concrete.
The incredible weight of concrete blocks surpassed the forklift’s weight capacity of five tonnes. Overloading the forklift meant that the mechanism simply could not cope.
The HSE’s findings also revealed that the worker was not supposed to be anywhere near the blocks being lifted. It’s reasonable and obvious to us that, if there’s a forklift carrying immensely heavy concrete blocks, no one should be allowed to work too closely.
Buchan admits liability
In the Magistrates Court, Buchan Concrete Solutions pled guilty for failing in their legal obligations to comply with regulation 8 of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998. The HSE explains that under individuals and companies who use lifting equipment are to make sure all operations are “properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner.”
It seems the concrete company failed on all of these points.
Large fines and costs
Buchan Concrete Solutions were therefore issued with a heavy £300,000 fine and ordered to pay court costs of £10,092.42. The fine looks like it proved too much for the concrete company, who soon after entered administration. The company has since been bought by a management buyout team and then sold to FP McCann; a giant in the industry.
Life changing injuries
The workman whose foot was amputated has suffered life changing injuries. The immediate pain and suffering must have been unbearable, let alone considering the life-long consequences of this completely avoidable incident. Employees trust their health and safety to their employer when they spend hours toiling away to make them money.
Employers must not neglect their workers and make sure that the workplace is as safe as can be.
Have you suffered an accident at work?
If you have had an injury at your workplace due to your employer’s negligence, talk to one of our specialist solicitors to see how we can help your recover financial compensation. Even if you think they don’t deserve to be taken to court, remember your injuries would not exist if it wasn’t for their failures to comply with health and safety regulations. Besides, this is what your employer’s insurance is for; you will be claiming off their insurance, not the company itself.