Unsafe system of work causes digger injuries

A national plant hire firm has landed in court after two employees were struck and injured by a reversing mini digger at a depot.

One of the workers broke a bone just below his knee and suffered extensive tissue damage to his foot and ankle in the incident at One Call Hire, Enfield, north London.

The company, which has 23 depots across the UK including the Enfield head office, was prosecuted after an investigation identified concerns with an unsafe system of work.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that the injured workers were part of a team preparing a mini digger for shipment to Australia, and were giving the machine a final clean.

During the work, it was inadvertently put into reverse and struck an employee. In trying to release him, the vehicle was again reversed, causing him additional injuries and injuring another worker.

A third had a lucky escape because he was under the vehicle, but managed to move away just in time.

HSE inspectors established there was no agreed system of work for the refurbishment and cleaning, and the vehicle should have been isolated to ensure it could not move.

The court was told One Call Hire workers devised their own system of work that was inherently unsafe, and that none of them had received any formal training.

on the 12 February 2014 the company was fined £4000 plus £1036 in costs over the December 2012 incident after it admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.