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Construction firm fined over worker's injuries

An engineering contractor has been fined after a worker suffered severe injuries when his excavator struck a bridge on the M1 motorway in the East Midlands.

A maintenance fitter employed by Nottinghamshire firm Van Elle Ltd was driving a wheeled excavator during widening work on the motorway between Junctions 25 and 28 when its boom hit a bridge.

The worker, who has asked not to be named, was not wearing his seatbelt and was thrown over the steering column and through the open front screen, hitting his head on the front excavator blade.

He suffered severe head injuries and was in a coma for two weeks. Rehabilitation lasted a further five months and he has since returned to the company though he has been left with reduced function in his left arm and leg for which he receives ongoing physiotherapy.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident on 22 September 2009, found the driver had not received adequate training in use of the excavator. He had been assessed to carry out lifting operations at the company's premises but on the day in question was standing in for a regular driver on the motorway construction site.

Van Elle Ltd, of Kirkby Lane, Pinxton, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The firm was today fined £12,750 and ordered to pay costs of £29,660.


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