Erith Plant Services handed £175k fine after worker fatality

Erith Plant Services
The fatal accident took place at Erith Plant Services Limited’s workshop (Image: HSE)

Erith Plant Services has been fined £175,000 after the death of one of its employees.

Liam McArdle, from Gravesend, was fatally crushed by an excavator attachment while working for Erith Plant Services Limited on 21 September 2021.

A demolition grab, attached to an excavator, fell onto the 24-year-old while it was loaded onto a lorry at the company’s workshop at Eastern Quarry on Watling Steet, Swanscombe.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found Erith failed to ensure there was a safe method of work while loading and unloading excavators and attachments.

Mugshot of a man smiling at the camera
Liam McArdle

Steps were not taken by the company to ensure HGV drivers fully engaged the quick hitch when moving attachments during loading and unloading activities.

HSE said there was also no defined segregation between vehicles and pedestrians at the firm’s Eastern Quarry workshop, nor was there suitable supervision of work activities.

McArdle’s father, Declan McArdle, said in his victim personal statement: “The pain of losing my son has been and will continue to be unbearable. Liam worked hard and wanted to learn. He wanted to follow in my footsteps, and I was proud of the person he was becoming."

Erith Plant Services Limited, of Queen Street, Erith, Kent pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £37,804 in costs at Woolwich Crown Court on 27 March 2024.

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