Lancashire building firm fined after contractor filmed standing in excavator bucket

A Lancashire building company has been fined £36,000 for allowing sub-contractors to work unsafely on a gable end.

By Jenny Simpson
Thursday, 19th December 2019, 10:11 am
Updated Thursday, 19th December 2019, 3:08 pm

The company, M.J.Fellows, admitted breaching health and safety regulations when Neil O’Hagan worked on the gable end standing in the raised bucket of excavator. He was not wearing any protective clothing or hat.

Below him driving the excavator was his father Ian. Both were doing sub-contract work for Fellows at the site of a new mosque on Grafton Street, Preston District Judge Jane Baldwin was told at Blackpool Magistrates Court.

A director of Fellows of Swansey Mill, Whittle-le-Woods, represented the company which has a turn over of £7m a year.

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Grafton Street in Preston Photo: Google Maps

The incident took place two-and-a-half years ago and was captured on film by a neighbour in Grafton Street who was shocked at what was going on.

As well as the fine, the judge ordered the company to pay £2,853 costs and £120 victims surcharge.

Christine McGlynn prosecuting, for the Health and Safety Executive, told the court:”Excavators should not be used to lift people.It is totally unsuitable.”

Mark Owen for Fellows Ltd said they take health and safety training seriously.

He said the firm had not authorised the O’Hagans to do what they did.

He added: “The company however has to take ultimate responsibility for what went on and apologises.

“It is embarrassed about being in court over this matter. It pleads guilty at the first opportunity as it takes health and safety training very seriously and has just employed new consultants to assist in that.”

“The company did not authorise what went on and found out about after the event.”