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Company fined after digger death

ABERDEEN-based quarrying company Leiths Scotland Ltd have been fined £96,000 after a man was crushed to death while working beneath a mechanical digger.

Mobile plant fitter Arthur Jamieson was fixing the transmission beneath the five-and-a-half tonne machine on 21 November 2008 at Parkmore Quarry, Dufftown, when the vehicle rolled backwards, crushing him.

The vehicle was raised on a ramp, but its rear wheels were inadequately secured. Mr Jamieson was crushed when the vehicle rolled off the ramp and suffocated as a result of a wheel compressing his chest.

The HSE’s investigation concluded that Mr Jamieson’s employers had failed to provide adequate information, instruction, training and supervision to prevent any risk to his health while working for them.

Mr Jamieson, who had not previously carried out the task and was expected to establish his own method of raising and supporting the vehicle above the ground, was left to organize suitable blocks to support the digger without direct supervision or suitable instructions.

Leiths Scotland Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at Elgin Sheriff Court on 9 August 2010 and were ordered to pay £96,000.

After sentencing, HSE Inspector Norman Buchanan said: ‘This tragic incident should have been avoided. Although Arthur Jamieson was undoubtedly an experienced mobile plant fitter, he had not previously carried out this particular task for this firm.

‘He should have received adequate information, training and supervision from his employers, which Leiths did not provide. It is wholly unacceptable that his employers left him unsupervised to devise his own means of working on such a risky repair job.

‘Had Mr Jamieson been adequately supervised, he would not have been able to start working underneath the digger when it was inadequately secured at the rear and therefore able to move from its position on the ramps. As a result, his death could have been prevented.’

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