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Written by
on 26 January 2012


Construction firm fined for neglecting contractor training

A maintenance fitter who had been contractor by Van Elle Ltd in Nottingham suffered injuries to his person when he was working on the M1 motorway.  The unnamed man was driving an excavator when he was thrown out from behind the wheel and landed on an excavator blade at the front of the vehicle. The vehicle had no front screen and the worker was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

As a result of the injury to the workers head he was left in a coma for a fortnight and had to endure a further five months of rehabilitation.  After returning to work for the same contractors for a short time he is still trying to get back to good health and having physiotherapy for damage which has caused reduced mobility in his left arm and leg.

Once Again Lack of Training Caused the Contractors to Be Prosecuted

When the accident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive it was discovered that the employee was not given adequate training before he began working on the motorway. If Van Elle Ltd had gone to the trouble of providing training, one of the health and safety services offered to the construction industry, the accident could have been avoided. In this case the worker was not told about safe methods of driving the excavator. He had been checked to see if he was able to perform lifting but on the day of the accident he was standing in for another employee who usually drives on the construction site on the motorway.

Health and Safety Consultants Are Ready to Help the Construction Industry

Before carrying out any new lines of work it is essential that the correct training is provided to all those involved. The employee working for Van Elle has been left with life changing injuries and is still having to go through long and painful physiotherapy after the incident which took place on 22 September 2009.

Mansfield Magistrates court were informed of the lack of training and also told about the boom of the excavator was found to be positioned at the wrong height.  The manufacturers guideline state that the boom has to be no more than four metres high whist in motion, and in this case the boom was six metres high.

When Van Elle Ltd appeared before the court they pleaded guilty for breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998. For the lack of training and the breach of the regulation the construction firm was fined £12,750 and have been ordered to pay the court costs of £29,660.

Health and safety consultants are able to provide services to the construction industry which is considered to be high risk. If you are responsible for workers it is worth using the health and safety services aimed at construction in order to ensure you are working within the law and providing safe methods of work for your employees. Call 0800 1488 677 to find out more about the services available.

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.