Construction company fined over fatal accident

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A third company has been sentenced over an incident where a foreman died when an excavator bucket filled with concrete fell on him at a London construction site.

On 28 August 2007, Gerry Fox, who worked for Euro Earthworks LTD was crushed by an excavator bucket in August 2007 when it fell from the arm of the 12 tonne excavator being driven by a colleague. A pin into the ‘quick hitch’ (a device attached to the excavator arm used for the rapid changing of attachments) which was necessary to safely lock the excavator bucket in place was not inserted, causing the bucket to fall on Mr Fox.

City of London Magistrates’ Court was told by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting, that Euro Earthworks Ltd failed to adequately plan, manage and monitor the construction work on site.

Euro Earthworks Ltd, of Boston Manor, Brentford, Hounslow was convicted of a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in connection with the tragedy and fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,000.

HSE Inspector Loraine Charles said:

“This tragic incident was entirely preventable. There had already been a significant number of incidents involving buckets becoming detached from quick hitches, in particular semi-automatic quick hitches where operators had failed to insert the safety pin.

“Mr Cunningham can have been in no doubt that he should not have operated the excavator without the quick hitch’s safety pin in place and that he should not have manoeuvred the bucket over people.”

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