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Accident compensation for crush

Crane operating from top of a truck
14th May 2014

An experienced lorry loader operator from Radstock, Somerset has been fined after another worker was crushed in the brick clamp of the lorry loader, leaving him with serious internal injuries that could now lead to accident compensation.

Yeovil Magistrates' Court heard how, on 18 November 2010, Mark Pratten, 53, a lorry loader operator working for Saint Gobain Building Distribution Ltd, andattempted to use a brick clamp on a lorry crane to lift Peter Hoy, 47.

The self-employed Mr Hoy was a general builder at the time, who was trying to get lifted off the roof of a cabin while he collecting building materials from a construction site at Mayfield House on High Street, in Rode, Avon.

The pallet of materials they were collecting was behind an eight foot wall and it was not possible to pick them up normally with the lorry crane that the men were using.

In trying to guide the crane into place Mr Hoy climbed onto the roof of the cabin and to get down quickly Mr Pratten tried to lift him with the grab of the crane.

Mr Hoy walked between the arms of the clamp, which was at waist height, in preparation to gain a foot or hand hold.

As he did so, Mr Pratten attempted to move the arms. However, he used the wrong switch and inadvertently operated the clamp button, causing a horrific event that could now result in accident claims.

The arms clamped Mr Hoy's waist, fracturing his pelvis and causing crush-related internal injuries, including nerve damage.

His injuries are so severe that he is still off work, which would offer more than enough foundation to form a legal case for work compensation claims.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Pratten fell far short of the appropriate standard required of a lorry loader operator in attempting to use the lorry loader in an unsafe manner and also lift Mr Hoy with the clamp.

This was in spite of the fact that Mr Pratten was fully trained to use the lorry loaders and had more than 20 years' experience in that line of work.

This evident could also help a case for Mr Hoy to proceed with accident claims to compensate the pain and suffering he's endured.

Speaking after the prosecution, HSE inspector Helena Tinton said:
"Even if the clamp had not been activated, attempting to lift Mr Hoy down from the cabin roof with a brick clamp was in no way safe."

Posted by Bryony Flack-Crane