Plant hire firm fined £99,000 over death at Maidenhead Premier Inn building site

George Roberts

Premier Inn construction worker's injuries were like a 'gunshot wound', inquest hears

The scene of the incident in 2014

A plant hire company that was responsible for a fatal accident on a Maidenhead building site has been fined.

Ruislip Plant Ltd has been fined £99,000 and told to pay costs of £116,973 after a worker died from injuries sustained on a Premier Inn construction site in West Street.

In a hearing, Reading Crown Court heard how on May 13, 2014, Ben Wylie was struck by a stream of high-pressure grease and a grease nipple assembly in the shoulder and chest, fatally injuring him.

Mr Wylie, aged 24, was assisting the director of Ruislip Plant Ltd, Noel Kearney, who is now deceased, with the maintenance of the high-pressure grease track adjusting mechanism on a piling rig.

An inquest into Mr Wylie's death took place in November 2016.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that on the previous day the components had been forcibly ejected and sustained damage, reducing the amount of pressure it would take to fail in the future.

Mr Kearney had attempted to refit the grease nipple and adaptor and started repressurising the tracks by pumping in grease using a hand-operated grease gun, causing the pressure in the system to build to a critical point.

The investigation found that after the fitting was first ejected, it should not have been refitted, and that a pressure test with suitable safeguards was required.

In this case, there was no safe system of work which meant Mr Wylie was in the ‘danger zone’.

Ruislip Plant Ltd, of Ruislip, Middlesex pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Following the hearing, HSE inspector John Glynn said: “HSE guidance is very specific on how this work should be undertaken and previously ejected or damaged parts must not be reused as they were in this case.

“This incident could have been avoided if Ruislip Plant Ltd had instead undertaken a risk assessment and devised a safe system of work.

“That safe system of work would necessarily have ensured that new parts were used, and that the safety procedure of a pressure test was performed.

“However, a new component was not used in this incident and the safety procedure was not adhered to.

“That failure to adhere to the correct procedure for pressure testing was directly causative of this incident. No control measures were put in place by Ruislip Plant Limited and that sadly led to the death of Ben Wylie.”

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