Firm is fined after worker is crushed

A Bulwell plant hire firm has been fined after a worker was crushed by a two-and-half tonne excavator during an unsafe cleaning operation.

The 40-year-old, from Mansfield suffered four fractures to his pelvis, dislocated his thumb and sustained soft tissue damage to his left hand and both legs in the incident at L&M Glazing Ltd in Bulwell on 3 July 2012.

The company, of Hucknall Lane, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation identified serious safety failings with the chosen method of work.

L&M Glazing was fined £11,000 and ordered to pay £6,400 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Nottingham Magistrates’ Court heard that the injured worker was cleaning an excavator. The work needed to be done quickly because the vehicle was due to be hired out again later the same day.

The excavator was positioned over a wash bay and raised off the ground by its hydraulic excavator arm and shovel blade, allowing the caterpillar tracks underneath to turn while they were sprayed.

Cable ties were used to lock controls in position and they were configured so that the tracks could spin while the cab was empty. As the worker was cleaning near the excavator arm his foot became trapped under the moving track.

A colleague ran to his aid and, worried that he was being dragged closer to the machine, hit two side levers in the cab in a bid to help him escape. The vehicle lurched forwards, knocking him backwards before pinning and trapping him.