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Digger spotter gets head trapped

A company in Norfolk has been fined £20,000 after a worker managed to get his head trapped between an excavator bucket and a gate post.

A company in Norfolk has been fined £20,000 after a worker managed to get his head trapped between an excavator bucket and a gate post.

The victim, Jeremy Buck, was working on a landscaping job at a school in Cromer. He was spotting to check that the excavator did not hit a nearby fence when pushing soil. But after turning his back he got pinned down by the machine's bucket against a gate post. He suffered multiple fractures to the side of his face.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that Garden Discount Centre Ltd (trading as GDC Ltd) from St Olaves, Great Yarmouth, failed to assess the risks of the task and implement safety measures. Furthermore, no specific training for banking or operating excavators was given to employees, including the injured man and the excavator driver. Employees were not instructed on safe working practices with or near moving site plant.

The incident took place on 8th August 2018.

Garden Discount Centre Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. On 28th August 2020 Peterborough fined the company £20,000 and ordered it to pay costs of £4,745.50.

HSE inspector Kasia Urbaniak said after the hearing: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply assessing the risks of the task at hand, implementing suitable safety measures and issuing relevant safety instructions to employees.”

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