Builder jailed after failing to report serious site injury


A builder has been sentenced to almost six months in prison after failing to report an accident on site that led to a worker having his leg amputated.

Paul Adams, of Surrey Conversions, has been sentenced to 24 weeks in custody after a worker on his site who hadn’t been trained on using an excavator suffered severe leg injuries when the digger tipped over during construction work. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Adams failed to report the incident as he was meant to and it was only able to start investigating the incident eight months after it happened when the injured worker made a complaint.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 8 January 2019, Simon Lewis had been clearing a site on Clarence Avenue, New Malden, with an excavator so a new house could be built. The excavator tipped over while digging and trapped Lewis’s leg, resulting in an amputation.

An investigation by the HSE found that Lewis, who had no formal training for operating excavators, had requested a 3-ton model to do the work. However, only a smaller 1.7-ton excavator was provided and Lewis was put under pressure to use it. The incident was not reported to the HSE within 10 days as required and the defendant, Paul Adams, had not investigated the incident.

According to the HSE, by the time the complaint had been reported, crucial evidence relating to the incident was unobtainable and the work was almost completed.

There was no health and safety-related documentation and there was no employer’s insurance for Lewis to claim against. Adams had not obtained any health and safety-related training during his 50 years in the construction industry.

Adams, trading as Surrey Conversions of Sutton Common Road, Sutton, pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 3(1) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013. He received a 24-week custodial sentence and was ordered to pay costs of £2,033.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers said: “This case re-enforces how important it is that incidents are reported so they can be investigated, and improvements made to prevent serious incidents in future.

“The judge noted Mr Adams had not reported the incident even when prompted to by a solicitor, and that despite his construction experience he had failed to take any interest in understanding his legal duties nor invest in health and safety. Mr Adams claimed in court that he had stopped working for months due to the impact of the incident. However, the evidence showed he had continued with the work.

“The judge commented on how distressing it must have been for Mr Lewis on top of his life-changing injury, to know the incident was not being investigated.”

Source: Construction News


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