Worker in digger bucket caught on video


Sometimes people do things on site that beggar belief. This is one such flagrant example of building safety being completely ignored, thus risking a man’s life. Fortunately a concerned citizen had the presence of mind to video the incident, so that the dangerous and idiotic actions – which were not the first on the site in question – were brought to light.

The case actually involves a skip hire company, Shadlock Skips of Bacup. The owner, Christopher Jones, was warned by HSE in March 2013 for allowing an employee to ride on top of a fully-laden skip lorry while it reversed into the firm’s Newchurch Road site in Bacup.

Repeat Offender

Despite this warning, he then involved the same (unnamed) employee in an even more dangerous action on May 1st, 2013.

Jones wanted to remove a broken piece of plywood from above a door in the building. The offending piece was some 4 metres off the ground. Yet Jones lifted the worker, who was in the bucket of a telehandler, up to the hole in the wall.

He could have used a properly-supported ladder, a mobile platform or a scaffold: but this was reckless and very dangerous.

The video shot by the worried member of the public who witnessed it and passed the evidence to the HSE, has appeared on YouTube and was used in evidence at the later hearing at Burnley Magistrates’

Mr. Jones’s defence was that he thought it would only take a minute – but to quote the HSE Inspector David Myrtle:

That minute has cost Mr Jones dearly but had the employee fallen from the bucket then the cost to him and his family would have been immeasurable. It’s never OK to put someone’s life in danger – no matter how long it lasts.

The monetary cost to Christopher Jones (of West View Road, Rossendale) was a total of £6,039 between his Court fine and HSE’s prosecution costs.

Whether it be building users like these ones or construction companies working on new builds and refurbishments, there are common health and safety issues about the movements and usage of vehicles in the workplace. It is advisable for all managers, supervisors and safety professionals to be aware of the basic safety facts.

It is worth quoting the Work at Height Regulations 2005, which say that “every employer shall ensure that work at height is properly planned, appropriately supervised, and carried out in a manner which is so far as is reasonably practicable safe.”

And it is worth any principal contractor or major subcontractor ensuring that they are within the law and abiding by best practice, by seeking practical hands-on guidance on site from the time-served, specialist building safety consultants of McCormack Benson Health & Safety.