Firm fined over failure to train and provide suitable equipment

Modular Granite Ltd of Bournemouth has been prosecuted after two workmen were crushed by granite slabs being moved in April 2011. The incident caused serious injury to Chris Thurston (aged 34) who suffered cuts to his neck, a broken leg and damaged veins. Co-worker Gary Avery (aged 24) suffered bruising on his leg and compact nerve syndrome in his foot.

Bournemouth Magistrates heard (12 Oct) that the men were part of a four-strong team moving granite slabs stacked on an A-frame. The two men took the weight of approximately four slabs while the others were to remove the slab required.

During the task the slabs came “crashing down” on the two men causing the injuries. Mr Thurston has been unable to return to physical work since the incident and has undergone a number of operations.

HSE investigators found proper training had not been provided to the workmen on safe ways of removing the slabs or ensuring they could not topple over.

A-frames used to hold the slabs were unsuitable

Modular Granite Ltd of Durrant Road, Bournemouth, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Magistrates imposed a fine £3,000 and ordered the company to pay £6,898 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Kate Leftly said:

“This incident caused painful injuries that could have been avoided had simple safety measures been taken.

None of the workers received training on how to move the slabs and the company didn’t have a safe system of work that would have helped them.

The A-frames used to hold the slabs were also unsuitable, because there was no means to prevent them toppling over or sliding out, creating a clear danger to the workers.”

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