Firms fined after worker loses fingers

A pair of companies have been fined a total of £7,000 after an employee lost three fingers and part of his thumb operating a lorry mounted concrete pump.

In a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution, Telford Magistrates' Court was told how the 37-year-old man, who does not wish to be named, had been working with another member of staff for O'Neill Concrete Pumping to pump concrete into a garden in Telford in February 2010.

When the job was finished he went to clean the hopper and lifted the automatic locking hopper grille.

As he did, the swinging tube, which is part of the pumping mechanism, moved and trapped his right hand, crushing his fingers.

He was taken to hospital and had three fingers and part of his thumb amputated. The employee needed extensive surgery and has been traumatised by his injuries.

The court was told that Transcrete (GB) supplied the concrete pump to O'Neill Concrete Pumping, and defects were found with the machine in question.

Following the incident, prohibition notices were immediately served on two lorry-mounted concrete pumps owned and used by O'Neill Concrete Pumping, due to the failure of the interlocking system on the hopper.

The HSE investigation found that O'Neill had failed to ensure that effective measures were taken to prevent access to dangerous parts of the hopper of the truck-mounted concrete pump and that Transcrete had failed to ensure that it was designed to be safe when it was being cleaned or maintained.

O'Neill Concrete Pumping, based in Bilston, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £3,000 with costs of £2,000.

Sandbach-based Transcrete (GB) pleaded guilty to breaching Section 6(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 for failing to ensure the concrete pump supplied was safe between January 2004 and December 2006. They were fined £4,000 with costs of £2,000.