Contractor fined US$220,000 following death of an employee

A demolition company in the United Kingdom has been fined £175,000 (US$218,000) by the country’s health and safety authority, following the death of an employee.

The construction plant involved in the incident at Erith Plant Services The equipment involved in the tragic death. (PHOTO: HSE)

Liam McArdle, from Gravesend, was fatally crushed by an excavator attachment while working for Erith Plant Services Limited on 21 September 2021.

A demolition grab, attached to an excavator, fell onto the 24-year-old while it was being loaded onto a lorry at Erith Plant Services’ workshop at Eastern Quarry in Swanscombe.

An investigation into the incident by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Erith failed to ensure there was a safe method of work while loading and unloading excavators and attachments.

HSE said: “The company failed to ensure steps were taken to ensure HGV drivers fully engaged the quick hitch when moving attachments during loading and unloading activities.

“There was also no defined segregation between vehicles and pedestrians at the firm’s Eastern Quarry workshop, nor was there suitable supervision of work activities.”

Erith Plant Services, which pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, has also been ordered to pay £37,804 (US$47,000) in costs by Woolwich Crown Court.

HSE inspector Joanne Williams said: “This tragic death serves as an important reminder that workers need to be trained and that there is always the potential for an attachment to fall during the operation of excavators.

“Employers need to ensure that work practices are maintained to keep workers away from the danger areas during lifting activities.”

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