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Construction company fined after employee seriously injured by excavator

SD Launchbury Ltd has been in court, after one of its employees suffered life-changing injuries when he was struck by a reversing excavator.

What happened?

Thomas Plumb was hit by a reversing excavator on a site in Gretton in May 2013, leaving his right leg seriously injured.

The 27-year-old was in a coma for ten days and in hospital for seven weeks. Since the accident he’s undergone extensive bone and skin grafts, and has had metal rods and screws inserted into his ankle, knee and leg.

An investigation into the incident found that SD Launchbury Ltd hadn’t carried out a satisfactory assessment of the on-site risks, and had therefore failed to ensure a safe system of work was in place.

The court heard that there had been no segregation between the dangerous moving plant and pedestrians, and the excavator in question didn’t have adequate rear view mirrors or other visual aids.

Additionally, the warning beacon on the excavator wasn’t working and workers hadn’t been given high-vis personal protective equipment, or provided with information or instructions about working around excavators.

What was the outcome?

SD Launchbury Ltd pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £913 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Kate Leftly, said:

“Thomas Plumb suffered life-changing injuries, which could have
been avoided if SD Launchbury had properly assessed the
risk posed by the excavator and appropriate controls,
including segregation of vehicles and pedestrians
and the provision of adequate visibility
aids, had been put in place.

“Each year, around ten people in the construction industry die
as a result of being struck by moving plant. In
addition, there are hundreds of preventable
incidents and injuries.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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