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September 21, 2016

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£800,000 fine after worker pulled under vehicle

A construction company has been fined £800,000 after a contractor was pulled under a vehicle on a large site in Wokingham.

Harlequin Brickwork Ltd, a construction firm, employed David Cole as a site foreman on a large housing development project, which started in April 2013 and had a completion date of April 2017.

On 7 December 2014, Mr Cole was walking along the site road towards the rear of a bulk powder (mortar) carrier.

The vehicle had just reversed into a T junction. Mr Cole walked along the nearside of the vehicle as it pulled forward and turned towards the nearside. He was hit by the vehicle and pulled under iy.

Mr Cole suffered serious life-threatening injuries. His skin was removed and split on his left arm and leg; he fractured his left hip requiring a pin to be inserted, and the fingers on his left hand were broken. Additionally, his left leg has been left permanently shorter than his right by 20mm.

Reading Crown Court heard the site, run by the Principal Contractor, Crest Nicholson Operations Ltd, had failed to plan and manage the workplace transport effectively.

An HSE investigation found that the incident could have been avoided had they monitored and taken action to ensure that workers stayed behind the pedestrian barriers and not walked on the road, and prevented large HGVs from reversing hundreds of metres at a time.

Crest Nicholson Operations Ltd., of Crest House, Pyrcroft Road, Chertsey, Surrey, pleaded guilty to breaches of Regulation 36 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £800,000 plus £10,984 costs.

HSE’s inspector John Berezansky said: “David Cole suffered life changing injuries because Crest Nicolson Operations Limited did not properly manage and monitor the workplace transport on their construction site. When working with such large delivery vehicles and construction plant, especially on projects where there are lots of pedestrians,  the principal contractor much take responsibility and ensure the health and safety of all those involved.”

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