Builders firm fined after worker has legs broken

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A building firm will have to pay out more than £45,000 after a worker had both his legs broken at a site in Bletchley.

Martyn Powell was working at the Saxon Street site owned by Cemex UK Materials Ltd when the incident happened on June 27 last year.

At a hearing at Aylesbury Crown Court, it was heard that Mr Powell was one of a team cleaning an area around the metal skip track, which had been lifted up by a hoist so they could clean underneath it.

The hoist jammed and as Mr Powell tried to move it, pulling down on the hoist with a ratchet, the hook holding it gave way and the track fell hitting his legs. He was hospitalised for a week and forced off work for six months.

An investigation was carried out by the Health and Safety Executive and it was found that the company had not adequately looked after the hoist and ‘not provided a safe system of work in the event of its failure’.

Cemex was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay £10,043 costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc act 1974 at an earlier hearing.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Karl Howes, said: “Martyn Powell suffered painful fractures to both legs, but his injuries could easily have been more serious or even fatal.

“Cemex UK Materials Ltd had not maintained the hoist properly and that led to it becoming jammed. All machinery must be maintained regularly to ensure it is safe to work with.

“It is not enough to rely on reactive maintenance and only fix things when they go wrong; companies should be looking for signs of wear and tear before any deterioration leads to an incident and possible injury.

“In addition there needs to be a system of work in place so that workers know how to deal safely with the tasks involved in their job. HSE will not hesitate to prosecute when companies neglect their equipment and put workers and others at risk.”