• Robert Spicer

Orkney Crushing Death: Health And Safety Prosecution

Orkney excavator crushing death: £12,000 fine

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service v William George Sinclair Reid t/a E&M Engineering Services (2015) Kirkwall Sheriff Court, March 25

William George Sinclair Reid, trading as E&M Engineering services, has been fined following the death of an employee in a crushing incident.

Significant points of the case

  • In November 2012 Christopher Hartley, an employee of Reid, was working on a pier in Hoy, Orkney. He was unloading metal panels from a van, using an excavator.

  • Hartley was struck by the moving excavator and crushed between the machine and a fixed cabinet at the end of the pier. He suffered fatal crush injuries.

  • Although Reid had carried out a risk assessment, he had not identified mechanical lifting as a hazard and the risks associated with using an excavator.

  • Reasonable precautions had not been taken to reduce the risk of a person being struck by a moving load or excavator.

  • Reid should have planned and controlled the task to ensure that a strictly-enforced exclusion zone was set up during all excavator manoeuvring and lifting operations, and that all personnel involved were wearing appropriate hi-vis clothing, particularly since the work was being undertaken in the dark.

Reid was fined £12,000 for a breach of regulation 8, Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. Regulation 8 states, in summary, that every employer shall ensure that every lifting operation involving lifting equipment is properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner.

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