I hope my meagre attempts to highlight failings in health and safety convey my intentions. Each incident shows what can go wrong, each incident is a lesson and a reminder. I work for firms and work with people who have a job to do. My job is to minimise the risks. Articles like this are not about hammering errant operators or criticising mistakes with the full force of hindsight. I just hope that by expanding the reach of tragic cases we can collectively prevent them happening again. This one is a case of ‘ It will be right.’
A nine foot deep trench that was being dug for drainage collapsed on a worker as he was guiding an excavator. The 43 year old was working for Wallace Roofing & Building Ltd who are based in Fife, Scotland. The drainage was needed to connect a new extension on an old property but the job was obstructed by a large boulder. The worker got down and was guiding the excavator when the unsupported wall caved in. Colleagues managed to dig him clear enough to breath until emergency services arrived. His injuries included a puncture to both lungs.
It took 6 years to get the ruling and a fine of £14,000 was imposed. A Unite spokesman, Steven Dillon, criticised the fine on the grounds that it was too small to send a strong enough message. I don’t disagree with him in principle, however, my concern is more simple. Trench walls can collapse, we know this. The older ones amongst us need to tell the youngsters and we should have it in our minds moment to moment. In addition to the risk posed by the trench walls here a digger was added. The extra weight and vibration should have sounded alarm bells.
‘It Will Be Right’
I admire a can do spirit. Really I am in awe sometimes of the people who put things up and dig things down, but into many is set this attitude of ‘ It will be Right.’ Weight, vibration and an unstable, unsupported trench or tunnel…don’t get in it and don’t let anyone else get in it. It won’t always be right.’
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Australian Firm Fined for Power Line Injuries. Click here