Construction company fined after excavation collapse

Harlands Builders Limited has been fined for safety breaches after a ground worker was trapped having entered a two-metre-deep excavation.

Bridlington Magistrates’ Court heard that on 26 June 2019, the company was undertaking groundworks at West Farm Stone, Creek Sunk Island, East Riding. The worker had entered an excavation in order to measure the depth when part of it collapsed on him.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the excavation had three sheer unsupported sides and was not battered back. The worker was trapped by the collapse and sustained a broken tibia and fibula on his left leg. Other workers were also put at risk as they went into the excavation to free the trapped man.

Harlands Builders Limited of Medina House, Station Avenue Bridlington, East Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22 (1) of the Construction Design Management Regulations 2015. The company has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,139.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sarah Robinson, said: “The excavation should have been supported or battered back, and no individuals should have been asked to go into the excavation whilst it was unsafe.

“This incident could have led to the death of the worker. The case highlights the importance of identifying and following any risk assessment that was set in place.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk
  3. HSE news releases are available at www.press.hse.gov.uk
  4. Further information can be found at: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis64.pdf