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Written by
on 03 April 2012


Drainage work trench collapse

An employee at the Dawlish holiday Park, Lady’s Mile Farm, suffered terrible injuries when he became trapped while working in a trench. Grzezgorz Waluszowski had been asked to help with laying one of the drainage pipes in a trench. While he was in the two meter deep trench the sides collapsed trapping him inside.

No Adequate Safety Measures in Place and a Lack of Planning

Other people working on the trench were able to help dig Mr Waluszowski out of the caved in trench however he had fractured his skull, his cheekbone and his jaw.  When the Health and Safety Executive paid a visit to the park they discovered that they had good reason to prosecute the operators, Main Gate Leisure. The inspectors discovered that there was no adequate planning in place for the work of laying the new drainage pipe, and no safety measures were in place to prevent the accident from occurring.

Mr Waluszkowski not only worked at the park, he lived there too. On the day of the accident he was working with two of the directors of the park’s operators. In order to try and prevent the trench from caving in some pieces of plywood were propping up a metal plate and some wood was placed between the sides in order to help hold them up. Unfortunately this was not effective and the whole support system collapsed causing the sides to cave in. The directors present used an excavator on site in order to reach Mr Waluszkowski and help to get him out which the managed to do before the emergency services arrived.

Main Gate Leisure Limited was prosecuted at Torquay Magistrates court where they pleaded guilty for breaching Regulation 31(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations. The company have to pay a fine of £5,000 and they were also ordered to pay £2,198 in court costs.

After the hearing Jonathan Harris, a Health and Safety Executive spoke to the press. He said that the accident could have easily resulted in a fatality. This highlights the importance of thorough planning and the need to have proper safety measures in place. The support used to prop up the sides of the trench was clearly not suitable; a trench box can be hired with ease and would have prevented the caving in of the trench.

Make Use of a CDM Coordinator

Using the health and safety services offered by specialists is a great way of helping to prevent accidents such as these occurring in your workplace. If you work with health and safety consultants it is possible to make use of CDM Coordinator Services that are able to help companies conform with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The experienced consultant will be able to help you in a variety of ways including but not limited to:

  • Risk Management
  • Administration
  • Health and Safety and the Design Process

Call 0800 1488 677 to speak to health and safety consultants about their CDM Coordinator service or one of the many other useful 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.