BAM Nuttall fined £833k after polystyrene block falls on worker’s head

UK contractor BAM Nuttall, subsidiary of Dutch giant Royal BAM Group, has been fined more than £830,000 after a worker suffered three fractured vertebrae when he was hit on the head by a large expanded polystyrene block that fell off an excavator bucket.

An investigation found the lift operation had been done without basic precautions.

The worker, Andrew Stewart, suffers pain two years on.

Brighton Magistrates Court heard how, on 20 January 2017, workers were building a piling platform from expanded polystyrene blocks at Redhill train station in the county of Surrey, England.

They were using an excavator to place the blocks and one slipped from the bucket, hitting Stewart on the head.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the lifting operation had not used appropriate lifting accessories and had simply trapped the load with the bucket against the excavator’s dipping arm.

"This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply using appropriate lifting accessories such as chains and strops to carry out the lifting operation," said HSE inspector, Andrew Cousins. 

"Failure to do so has resulted in the serious injury of Andrew Stewart."

The court heard how Stewart is still suffering the effects of the injury and is likely to be on pain medication for the foreseeable future.

BAM Nuttall of St James House Knoll Rd, Camberley pleaded guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company has been fined £833,333.33, and was ordered to pay full costs of £5,478.22, as well as the victim surcharge of £170.

"Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate action against those that fall below required standards," said Cousins.

Image courtesy of the Health and Safety Executive

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