Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Firmed Fined after Employee is crushed to Death
Posted by David Cant on April 21, 2011

Lack of Risk Assessments and Training End in Fatal Accident

An engineering company based in Cannock on Staffordshire has been fined after the death of one of their employees.  Hydraline Engineering Ltd was prosecuted after a health and safety investigation was launched after an accident on 7 March 2008.

Mr Palmer was working on one of their wheel loaders at Wells Farm when the hydraulic system operating the loaders arms failed and lost pressure.  Mr Palmer was crushed as the loading arm fell and was crushed to death against the vehicle.

Inadequate Risk Assessment

The Health and Safety Executive found that the company had failed to perform adequate risk assessments and as a result of this there were not enough control measure which could have stopped the arm from falling once there was a reduced amount of hydraulic pressure.

A HSE spokesman Wayne Owen spoke about the tragedy which could have been prevented if the company had spent time to assess all of the risks. He went on to say that when working with any hydraulic machinery risk assessments need to be performed and control measures established to help prevent accidents from occurring.  If the firm had made sure that there was a load tested support device it would have prevented the death of Mr Palmer.

Poor Health and Safety Training

The inspectors also discovered that Mr Palmer had not been given the correct training which could have helped him understand the risks which are involved when hydraulic machinery is used.   Rather than being provided with the proper training Mr Palmer had simply learnt on the job.  This along with the lack of risk assessment and control measures led to the accident.

Three Years before Accepting Guilt

Hydraulic Engineering Ltd pleaded guilty after they accepted their part in the death of family man Mr Palmer.  Mrs Palmer was pleased that they finally saw the role they played in her husband’s death almost three years after the accident.  Mrs Palmer is hopeful that this accident will prevent any other families having to go through the same experiences that they have been through.

Stafford Crown Court judge heard Hydraline Engineering plead guilty for breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 which states that employers must make suitable and sufficient risk assessments of the risks to health and safety that employees face at work.  They also pleaded guilty for breaching section 2(1) and also the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which says that it is the duty of employers to ensure the welfare and health and safety of the workers.  The firm has been fined £40,000 and in addition to this will have to pay £20,000 in costs.

Contact our experts on 0800 1488 677 if you would like to provide your employees with health and safety training courses to help prevent accidents and to provide sufficient training.   You can also enquire about our risk assessments and other health and safety services.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Construction Health and Safety

Follow all of the latest Veritas Consulting news on our RSS feed

Twitter: Veritas_Tweets