Company Fined after Crush Injury Accident

Company Fined Over Crush Injuries 25847

Bouygues UK, the principal contractor for an extension project at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, has been fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The organisation took Bouygues to Court over its role in the death of Guilherme de Oliveira, 44, from Portugal, who suffered fatal crush injuries in an accident.

Chelmsford Crown Court was told that the 44-year-old was working through an agency as a banksman and was responsible for fixing beams across supporting towers to form the concrete structure of a new building.

Mr de Oliveira and another banksman climbed the towers to unhook some lifting chains, but was three metres off the ground when he did this.

A concrete beam was then lifted up to the duo, but increasingly fast winds made the job difficult. 

Before the Portuguese man was able free the heavy object from its hooks, winds blew above safe limits and as a result the crane carrying the block moved in the wind, sending it towards Mr de Oliveira and crushing him against an adjacent wall.

He died soon after the accident.

After being informed of the case, the HSE launched a work accident investigation and found sensors used to measure wind speeds were not being monitored at the time of the accident and that deteriorating weather conditions were therefore not factored into operations.

For its part in Mr de Oliveria's death, Bouygues UK was fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £80,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 8 of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Dominic Elliss said, "Although the Judge was not satisfied that the company’s failings were a direct cause for Mr de Oliveira's death, he said there was a systemic failure where a risk of serious injury was foreseeable.

"Lifting operations can be highly hazardous and the appropriate standards are clearly set out in both the regulations and industry guidance."

By Chris Stevenson