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Contractor fined £233k after HGV driver killed by piling rig mast

Van Elle has been fined £233,000 after a 52-year-old HGV driver was struck and killed by the mast of a piling rig at a site in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway.

On 21 January 2021, Gary Dobinson, who was employed by another company, visited the Hallmeadow development to collect and transfer the piling rig owned by Van Elle.

As the mast of the rig was being lowered in preparation for its transportation, it suddenly collapsed and struck Dobinson. Although site workers and emergency services raced to the scene to help him, he died from his injuries.

An investigation by Police Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that insufficient measures had been taken to maintain the piling rig in a safe condition before the incident.

Specifically, the securing lug for one of the mast’s retaining pins was badly corroded and failed, allowing the pin to displace and cause the mast to topple.

Van Elle Ltd, of Southwell Lane, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. It was fined £233,000 at Dumfries Sheriff Court on 4 June 2024.

HSE inspector James Caren said: “All work equipment should be subject to suitable inspection and maintenance to ensure that it can be used without risk to the safety of those using it and those in the vicinity.

“Construction plant is exposed to harsh conditions and requires effective inspection and maintenance regimes to avoid safety defects developing.”

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