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Excavator driver sentenced after worker injury

A Nottinghamshire demolition company and one of its employees have appeared in court after a worker suffered severe injuries when he was hit by a falling excavator bucket on his first day on site.

Labourer James Wilson was working for the company on a demolition site in Worksop in January 2011.

The excavator driver was re-attaching the four tonne excavator bucket to the boom of his machine when it fell and slid down a pile of rubble, landing on Mr Wilson and leaving him with major crush injuries.

Mr Wilson lost his left eye and part of his scalp. He also broke his eye socket, cheekbone, jaw, nose, left collarbone, several ribs and his left leg. He punctured a lung and severed the nerves on his bottom lip.

Mr Wilson was in a coma for two weeks and had to have a tracheotomy to help him breathe. He also needed extensive reconstructive surgery. He is still undergoing surgery, has not been able to return to work and is unlikely to for the foreseeable future.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had no safe systems of work in place and had not given Mr Wilson adequate information, instruction, training or supervision including adequate warnings of the hazards involved when working around plant.

Mansfield Magistrates' Court was told that employees should have been excluded from the area while the bucket was being re-attached and a safety pin used to secure it in place. During its investigation HSE found the excavator driver failed to take either of these preventative measures. He was sentenced to 250 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay a £200 contribution towards costs.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc act 1974 by failing to provide and maintain safe systems of work and to provide adequate information, instruction, training or supervision. The case was committed to Crown Court for sentencing at a later date.

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