An east London firm has been fined £125,000 after being found guilty of safety failings that led to the death of a worker who was crushed by a falling metal mast at its site in Cambridgeshire.
A construction engineer died as a result of his crush injuries following the incident at Universal Builders Supply Ltd, in Wireless Station Park, Kneesworth.
The incident was investigated by the HSE which brought the prosecution for safety breaches against the man’s employer.
The court was informed the man was part of a four man team assembling a tri-mast in the rear yard of the premises. It consisted of three standard mast sections, in a triangular formation and each section was being lifted and then lowered vertically into a purpose-built jig using a telehandler and a four-leg chain sling.
Two sections had been lowered into the jig and bolted together, but the second section did not sit correctly so the man and a colleague attempted to force it into the jig using a sledge hammer and crowbar.
The court also heard that their attempts failed, so the driver of the telehandler was instructed to use the machine to push the mast section into the jig, which he did. He then positioned the telehandler ready to move the final section into place, but as he did so the two three-metre tall mast sections already in place, each weighing around one tonne, toppled onto the man.
This looks like a classic case of not considering all of the risks as part of the site risk assessment. We often use the situation of what’s plan B if the original plan fails and have you properly considered the risks to plan B.
In this ace the HSE found that there was inadequate planning and supervision of the work and there had been no separation of vehicles from the assembly process. This meant that the telehandler, used to lift and lower the sections, inadvertently pushed over the two sections of the tri-mast onto the man.
The employer Universal Builders Supply Limited, of London, was fined a total of £125,000 and ordered to pay £40,000 costs after being found guilty at an earlier hearing of three offences of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.