HSE fine Clancy Docwra £1 million for death of employee

Clancy Docwra, a large UK construction firm and one of its employees have been sentenced for breaching health and safety legislation. This led to the death of an employee who was struck by an excavator, resulting in the company being fined £1 million by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

Both the company and the individual employee pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In March 2014, Southwark Crown Court, heard how Kevin Campbell, a site operative in Stratford was struck by an excavator mounted vibrator (EMV) attached to a 35-tonne excavator that he was working in close proximity to and killed.

Mr Campbell was crushed against a concrete wall by the EMV when he was disconnecting lifting accessories from a metal pile that had just been extracted from the ground.

Another site operative who was close to him at the time, was able to escape the EMV.

An investigation by the HSE found that “Clancy Docwra , failed to ensure the safety so far as is reasonably practicable of its employees and of others who were not their employees working on the site.”

The employee charged of breaching health and safety legislation who works for Clancy Docwra, Daniel Walsh, site supervisor for the site at the time was accused of failing to take reasonable care for other persons on the site at the time.

Clancy Docwra was found to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £1 million and ordered to pay costs of £108,502.30.

Mr Walsh breached Section 7(a) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was given a six month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £15,000.

Darren Alldis, HSE inspector said:

This death was wholly preventable and serves as a reminder as to why it is so important for companies and individuals to take their responsibilities to protect others seriously and to take the simple actions necessary to eliminate and minimise risks.

If the risks had been properly considered by the company, and simple and appropriate control measures were put in place, then the likelihood of such an incident occurring would have been significantly reduced. Informing all site operatives of the specific risks they face when carrying out such tasks and the control measures required of exclusion zones, the importance of communication and the mandatory use of excavator safety levers were simple actions that should have been put in place and their effectiveness monitored.

A spokesperson for Clancy Group said:

The effects of this tragic accident have been felt across our business. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies remain with Kevin Campbell his family and friends at this difficult time.

We have a responsibility to strive towards an ever-safer construction sector. As a business, we continue to invest in training, equipment and technology to protect our teams in their work, and guard against an incident like this occurring again.

The HSE is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety.