A site foreman has been fined after a labourer in his team was killed when a trench collapsed.
The case outlined below demonstrates that workers have a responsibility to themselves and anyone whom the acts or omissions may affect, additionally it also highlights the importance of following company arrangements and procedures, as cutting corners can have severe consequences.
Victim Graeme Scott, 30, from Dunfermline, was part of a team working for Cameron and Stevenson (Scotland) Ltd which is now in liquidation.
He was walking along the side of a 3-metre-deep trench dug to replace a sewer in Cranhill Park, Glasgow, on 3 April 2008 when it collapsed beneath him and he fell into the trench.
He began to make his way out but as he did so part of the trench wall collapsed on top of him.
Scott’s colleagues made frantic attempts to dig him out but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
An investigation established that there was no edge protection to the trench and that the sides of the trench had not been supported to make them safe.
HSE inspectors also found that even though trench boxes were available on site to help keep workers safe, they had not been using them.
Foreman William Parry admitted putting himself and his colleagues at risk by not using the safety measures his employers had told him to use.
After the case, HSE inspector Graeme McMinn said: ”If Mr Parry had taken the simple precautions he had been instructed to take, then Graeme Scott would be alive today.
“No measures were taken to prevent the trench collapsing or to stop workers falling in to the trench despite appropriate equipment being readily available on site.
“Mr Parry was working as the foreman and was properly trained in the right way to do trench work.
“The team had been told at the beginning of the job to use trench boxes to protect themselves. Although the team’s employers should have supervised them more closely, as foreman Mr Parry had a duty to take reasonable care of the safety of his team.”
William Parry, 33, of High Valleyfield, Fife, pleaded guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to breaching Section 7 (the duties placed on employees) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974, and was fined £240