Unsecured granite slabs fell on workers12 October 2012
A Bournemouth company has admitted failing to create a safe system of work or provide adequate training prior to an incident in which two workers were crushed by granite slabs.
Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court heard the incident took place at Modular Granite Ltd’s factory on Durrant Road in the city, on 12 April last year. Agency worker Chris Thurston, 34, and Modular Granite employee Gary Avery, 24, were part of a team of four workers moving granite slabs at the site.
Mr Thurston and Mr Avery took the weight of four slabs, which were stacked inside an A-frame, while the other workers tried to remove a separate slab. However, the two me were unable to hold the weight and the slabs fell on top of them.
Mr Thurston suffered a cut to his neck, a broken leg and damaged veins, and is still unable to return to work owing to his injuries. Mr Avery suffered bruising to his leg and a compact nerve syndrome in his foot.
The HSE visited the site the day after the incident and found the company had failed to provide proper training for the workers on safe ways of removing the slabs, or ensuring they could not topple over. The company was served a Prohibition Notice, which required it to stop workers from handling or supporting unrestrained stone slabs while there was an unsafe method of storage.
Two Improvement Notices were also issued, which ordered the firm to create a safe system of work for handling the slabs, and to install a safe storage system.
HSE inspector Kate Leftly told SHP the company should have modified the A-frames to include vertical supports to stop the slabs from falling. She said: “None of the workers received training on how to move the slabs and the company didn’t have a safe system of work that would have helped them.
“The A-frames used to hold the slabs were also unsuitable because there was no means to prevent them toppling over or sliding out, creating a clear danger to the workers.”
Modular Granite appeared in court on 10 October and pleaded guilty to breaching s2(1) of the HSWA 1974. It was fined £3000 and ordered to pay £6898 in costs.
In mitigation, the company said it had complied with the enforcement notices and cooperated with the investigation. It entered an early guilty plea and has no previous convictions.
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