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Company Fined For Barnsley Man's Injuries

Thursday May 1 2014

A COMPANY has been fined £10,000 after a Barnsley man suffered life-changing injuries when steelwork he was dismantling collapsed on top of him.

Nicholas Ruckledge, 39, sustained serious crush injuries in the incident at Shawell, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, in March last year.

His employer HCL Equipment Contracts Limited was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive.

It follows an investigation by HSE which identified serious flaws with the dismantling and removal of steelwork that supported a large aggregate mixer.

Leicester Magistrates' Court was told the injured man and a colleague used ladders to access the top of the steelwork, which was seven metres high.

Both men wore harnesses and lanyards, which were the incorrect type, and after clearing various parts of the steelwork, the men began to cut through a standing conveyor with the intention of weakening it so it would fall onto the platform so they could continue the dismantling.

The HSE investigation found Mr Ruckledge was finishing a cut made by a colleague when the conveyor began to descend. He was unable to get out of the way of the falling frame - which weighed 380kg - and it hit him.

Mr Ruckledge suffered a fractured sternum, two broken vertebrae, eight fractured ribs, broken teeth and needed 58 stitches for a head wound.

HCL Equipment Contracts Limited, of Derbyshire, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £491 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching part of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE's Tony Mitchell said: "Our investigation found that if this work had been properly planned and risk assessed, and sufficient training given, it could have been avoided."

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