Two serious accidents add up to six-figure fine

An aggregates firm has been fined £50,000 after a wagon driver was dragged into a 360 excavator, crushing his right leg.

Leeds Magistrates heard that the driver’s tipper vehicle was being loaded with rubbish at J Murphy Aggregates in December 2020. He approached the side of the vehicle to retrieve overhanging debris before walking between the wagon and the excavator and standing at the rear. The excavator then tracked forwards and dragged his right leg under, breaking the bones and degloving the limb below the knee. Following several operations, the driver’s leg was amputated below the knee and his left leg was left badly scarred and damaged from skin and muscle grafts.

An investigation found that there was no effective segregation between heavy vehicles and pedestrians in the yard. The company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health & Safety at Work Act, fined and ordered to pay costs of £8,750.

The company, director Shaun Murphy and excavator operator James Duggan were also sentenced for an earlier incident during which a worker was struck by a falling excavator and suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis and hip, punctured lungs and a skull fracture. For that incident, the company was fined £70,000 and both men received suspended prison sentences.

HSE Inspector David Beaton said: “These cases are a damning indictment of a company which has consistently permitted unsafe systems of work.”

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