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HSE fines Jewson man for safety breach

A lorry loader working for builders merchant Jewson has been fined after another worker was crushed in the brick clamp of the lorry loader, leaving him with serious internal injuries.

Yeovil Magistrates’ Court heard how, on November 18 2010, Mark Pratten, an experienced lorry loader operator attempted to use a brick clamp on a lorry crane to lift Peter Hoy, 47, a self-employed general builder off the roof of a cabin while he was collecting building materials from a construction site.

The pallet of materials they were collecting was behind an eight foot wall and it was not possible to pick them up normally with the lorry crane that the men were using. In trying to guide the crane into place Hoy climbed onto the roof of the cabin and to get down quickly Pratten tried to lift him with the grab of the crane.

Hoy walked between the arms of the clamp, which was at waist height, to gain a foot or hand hold. As he did so, Pratten tried to move the arms but used the wrong switch and inadvertently operated the clamp button.

The arms clamped Hoy’s waist, fracturing his pelvis and causing crush-related internal injuries, including nerve damage. He is still off work.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Pratten fell far short of the appropriate standard required of a lorry loader operator, although he was fully trained, had more than 20 years’ experience in that line of work and was familiar with the controls on the machine he was using and aware of its capabilities.

Speaking after the prosecution, HSE inspector Helena Tinton said: “Even if the clamp had not been activated, attempting to lift Hoy down from the cabin roof with a brick clamp was in no way safe.”

Pratten, who no longer works for Jewson, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 and was fined £1,500 with £1,000 costs

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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