A British property developer and builder have been charged over an accident which led to the death of a driver on a construction site.

The 2 entities were ordered to pay a total of over £180,000 ($331,014.94) after one of their workers, Geoffrey Crow died when the 5 tonne dumper he was operating fell into a deep unguarded excavation. According to media reports, the vehicle overturned and landed directly on top of him, resulting in his death.

The court heard that Mr Crow was working at ground level whilst others were working to excavate a deep basement for a swimming pool at a new build property. The driver and the dumper went into a large excavation shortly after it had been freed from becoming stuck near the unguarded edge.

An investigation by that country’s health and safety executive discovered a number of health and safety failings going on at the site. Work on the site had been carrying on for three weeks but the following issues were discovered:

  • Lack of Edge protection – no measures were in place to prevent people or vehicles falling into the excavation;
  • No Collapse prevention – no measures to prevent collapse of the excavation sides;
  • Workers not Competent – workers on site were not familiar with operating plant machinery of the size used; and
  • Lack of Experience – workers did not have relevant experience in respect of such a large excavation.

In addition to these failings, the machine involved in the accident did not have an operational seat belt at the time of the accident. Other workers on site also admitted to not using seatbelts, obviously safety was not prioritised on the site and workers weren’t properly trained on safety.

The following excerpt from a post PPConstructionSafety.com explains more about the case,

dumperdeath1Speaking after sentencing HSE Inspector Stephen Manley, said:

“Working with construction plant can be extremely dangerous, which is why appropriate safety measures must be in place at all times to protect workers and others on site.

In this instance, Mr Crow died as a direct consequence of the lack of controls of the risks involved in the excavation operations. There was no protection whatsoever to ensure workers, whether driving machinery or otherwise, did not fall into the deep excavation.

Source: http://www.ppconstructionsafety.com/newsdesk/2014/11/21/dumper-truck-driver-died-in-deep-excavation/

Mr Manley went on to explain that not only was the worker operating the dumper at risk, but everyone else on the site that day was at risk as well. This is because on a construction site the actions of one worker affect others on a site especially in this case where there were no physical controls. There was also a lack of maintenance of equipment which also posed a risk to workers. In addition to this lack of safety controls, workers were not properly trained. Most of them were not given the information they needed to do their jobs safely. Mr Manley also stated:

A number of people were at work with Mr Crow and they were all at risk of serious harm through the absence of physical controls, as well as poor maintenance of equipment and a lack of training and information provided to workers.

Source: http://www.ppconstructionsafety.com/newsdesk/2014/11/21/dumper-truck-driver-died-in-deep-excavation/

There is no excuse to let operations continue without having the proper health and safety measures in place especially when there is so much guidance out there both for employers and employees. One of these in Oz is the White Card Course which is vital for every construction workers to ensure site safety.


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