Construction director jailed after employee killed by excavator

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front row builders ltd, excavator, Robert Harvey

Robert Harvey, director of Front Row Builders Ltd has been sentenced after an employee, Nicholas Hall, was crushed to death by an excavator bucket

The employee of Front Row Builders Ltd was pinned against the wall of an excavation pit for a vehicle wash bay that was under construction for Peter Lawless Road Planning Limited in Blantyre.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard how on 7 May 2016 work was being carried out by Front Row Builders Ltd employees to build a wall within an excavation.

Harvey operated an excavator to lower cement into the hole for three other men who were working in the hole to use.

He tipped the bucket to empty the mortar contents and shouted to Nicholas Hall to ‘scrape the rest out with a shovel’. Hall was pinned against the wall by the excavator bucket and died of blunt force injuries to his chest and abdomen.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Harvey failed to undertake a sufficient risk assessment to those who had been instructed to work with him.

He operated a long reach excavator without receiving the appropriate training or certification and instructed Nicholas Hall, to remove mortar from the bucket.

Robert Harvey of Front Row Builders Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7(a) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974, and was given a 10 month custodial sentence.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Helen Diamond, said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.

“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the death of this worker could have been prevented.”

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