A Nottinghamshire demolition company and one of its employees have appeared in court after a worker suffered severe injuries when he was hit by a falling excavator bucket on his first day on site.
Labourer James Wilson, of Misterton, was working for Bloom Plant Ltd on a demolition site on Kilton Road, Worksop, on 10 January 2011.
Excavator driver Paul Batty, who was also employed by Bloom Plant Ltd, was re-attaching the four tonne excavator bucket to the boom of his machine when it fell and slid down a pile of rubble, landing on Mr Wilson and leaving him with major crush injuries.
Mr Wilson, who was 46 when the incident happened lost his left eye and part of his scalp. He also broke his eye socket, cheekbone, jaw, nose, left collarbone, several ribs and his left leg. He also punctured a lung and severed the nerves on his bottom lip.
Mr Wilson was in a coma for two weeks and had to have a tracheotomy to help him breathe. He also needed extensive reconstructive surgery. He is still undergoing surgery and has not been able to return to work.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Bloom Plant Ltd had no safe systems of work in place and had not given Mr Wilson adequate information, instruction, training or supervision including adequate warnings of the hazards involved when working around plant.
Mansfield Magistrates’ Court was told in October 2013 that employees should have been excluded from the area while the bucket was being re-attached and a safety pin used to secure it in place. During its investigation HSE found Mr Batty failed to take either of these preventative measures.
Paul Nathan Batty, of Grange Road, Ordsall, Retford, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to take reasonable care of the health and safety of others. He was sentenced to 250 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay a £200 contribution towards costs.
Bloom Plant Ltd, of Askham Road, East Markham, Newark, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. act 1974 by failing to provide and maintain safe systems of work and to provide adequate information, instruction, training or supervision. The case was committed to Crown Court for sentencing.
After the hearing HSE inspector Kevin Wilson said:
“Mr Wilson suffered appalling injuries and was extremely lucky to survive. He was put in a position of grave danger by Mr Batty, who re-attached the bucket without ensuring the area was clear of other people and not in a safe position on level ground.
“Bloom Plant Ltd should have provided safe systems of work for both Mr Batty and Mr Wilson with better instruction, information, training and supervision, especially as the operations being carried out were known to have serious risks.”
ASD Solicitors represented Mr Wilson in connection with his claim for compensation arising out of the accident. Liability was admitted immediately and the insurers for Bloom greatly assisted James in his long road to recovery. They funded rehabilitation which included dental reconstruction, physiotherapy, psychotherapy and numerous interim payments. The claim was eventually settled in late February 2014 by Richard Meggitt, Solicitor, a member ASD’s serious injury team. Mr Wilson said following settlement of his claim ‘No amount of money can ever compensate me for the devastating injuries I suffered on the 10th January 2011, however it will give my family some security for the future given that I am unlikely to work again. I would like to thank Richard for his assistance in successfully bringing my claim to a conclusion’.
ASD wish James all the best for the future