Pochin fined over death of worker

Michael Hunt

Cheshire-based Pochin Concrete Pumping was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £45,000 today.

The company, located in Middlewich, pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

On 1 December 2003 Michael Broughton, an employer of UCS Civils at the time, was working with a group of employees pouring concrete to form the floor of an office building at the Redhouse Interchange near Adwick le Street, Doncaster. A truck-mounted concrete pump was being used to take fresh concrete from delivery lorries to the building floor. A suspended hose used to pour the concrete "whipped" violently when the pump was restarted, throwing one man some distance and fatally injuring Broughton.

UCS Civils of Rand, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, was sentenced at Doncaster Crown Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty in an earlier hearing in the Magistrates' Court to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

UCS Civils was also fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £31,600.

The Health and Safety Executive has urged construction firms to plan work carefully and take steps to control risk as a result of these fines.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Rob Cooper, said: "The precautions that should have been adopted were as simple as to ensure that no-one stood close to the end of the flexible delivery hose until concrete was flowing smoothly from it – something which would have not added any significant cost or time to the work."

HSE said construction is one of the country's largest but most dangerous industries with 72 fatalities nationwide in 2007/08.

The industry's representative body, Construction Plant-hire Association, has since published its guidance 'Code of Practice for the safe Use of Concrete Pumps'.

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