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Construction Firms Fined After Worker’s Death

PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.

A recent case, in which two companies were fined after a construction worker was killed when a lorry overturned onto his vehicle, illustrates the importance of managing transport activities during construction work.

Richard Kenny, 48, was killed instantly when the mini digger he was operating was crushed underneath a tipper lorry that overturned as it was delivering 20 tonnes of aggregate to a construction site in Melton Mowbray.

Mr Kenny was employed by J & H Construction Ltd., which had been subcontracted by principal contractor J H Hallam (Contracts) Ltd. to complete the ground works at the site. Both companies were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for failing to ensure the safety of Mr Kenny and for failing to properly plan, organise and control the tipping of bulk materials at the site.

Leicester Crown Court heard that the workplace transport risk assessment failed properly to consider tipping operations and the specific risks of vehicles overturning. The tipping area had not been adequately assessed as being safe for such operations, was not sufficiently level and had been poorly prepared.

An investigation by the HSE found that deliveries of bulk materials to the site were made without adequate supervision and without a banksman to direct operations or an exclusion zone around the vehicle during tipping. Also, pedestrians were not kept away from vehicles, particularly during tipping.

J H Hallam (Contracts) Ltd. was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 costs. J & H Construction Ltd. was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 costs.

HSE inspector Frances Bailey said, “Workplace transport should be managed on any site. This death could have been prevented if deliveries had been properly planned. It is well known that tipper lorries can overturn, especially on sloping or uneven ground and it is vital that people are kept at a safe distance.

“In this case the principal contractor and the subcontractor failed to recognise the potential risk and regularly allowed lorries to tip without the aid of a banksman close to the site compound and visitor car park. J H Hallam (Contracts) Ltd. should have been aware of the potential risk as it was involved in a previous incident where a skip lorry overturned on uneven ground.”

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