Director jailed after worker crushed by excavator bucket

THE sole director of Front Row Builders Ltd has been jailed for ten months after a worker  was crushed to death by an excavator bucket.

Robert Harvey was found to be culpable following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the death of Nicholas Hall on 7 May 2016.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard how Harvey had been operating an excavator during the construction of a vehicle wash bay in Blantyre. He was using the machine to lower cement and blocks down into a hole for three other men who were working in the hole to use. Harvey tipped the bucket to empty the mortar contents before shouting to Nicholas Hall to ‘scrape the rest out with a shovel’. Nicholas was pinned against the wall by the excavator bucket and died of blunt force injuries to his chest and abdomen.

Harvey was found to have failed to undertake a sufficient assessment of the risks to those who had been instructed to work with him, did not have the appropriate training or certification to be operating a long reach excavator, and he had instructed Nicholas Hall to remove mortar from the bucket.

He 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.”