Digger ‘lift’ lands developer with £120,000 fine

A building firm that allowed a digger to be used to lift a pair of workers to fit a stone on a new home has been fined £120,000.

A photograph was taken showing the workers standing in the digger bucket at The Villas development in Littleborough, Greater Manchester. Hoyle Developments Ltd was the principle contractor for the site.

Digger lift
Workers hoisted in digger bucket. (Picture courtesy of the HSE)

Court action was taken followed numerous warnings from health and safety inspectors over a sustained period.

On 25 January 2023 Hoyle Developments Ltd pleaded guilty at Manchester Magistrates’ Court to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The court fined the firm £120,000 and ordered it to pay £3,165.15 in costs.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Mike Lisle said: “Health and safety should be an integral part of any business, not an afterthought, and having a clear health and safety policy and construction phase plan in place, before work commences, can assist with ensuring this.”

Lisle described the case as a “proactive prosecution” and said it demonstrated HSE will take enforcement action “against those that continuously fall below the required standards and demonstrate persistent poor health and safety.”

On 7 July 2021, HSE inspectors issued Hoyle with a prohibition notice for inadequate scaffolding, as well as improvement notices for a lack of welfare facilities and insecure fencing.

Prior to this date inspectors visited four times between November 2018 and August 2021. During these visits repeated breaches were discovered, including a lack of sufficient welfare, unsuitable controls for work at height and inadequate protection from silica dust exposure.

HSE said Hoyle Developments Ltd was served with multiple notifications of contraventions, prohibition notices and improvement notices.

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