Construction

Building boss fined $23k… for breaking his own leg

Director of UK construction firm in court over ‘reckless’ excavation work

PHOTO: A UK construction director reportedly used an excavator to dig into the side of a slope, leaving unsupported excavation sides of up to 2.5 metres. Credit: HSE

The director of a UK building firm has been fined £15,000 after undertaking “reckless” excavation work – which resulted in him breaking his own leg and ankle.

Paul Connolly, director of the UK-based PNT Contractors Ltd, was partially buried when the high sides of an excavation at a site in Essex collapsed on him, a court has heard.

Connolly had to be rescued by workers digging him out by hand, and was later taken to hospital, according to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

“Paul Connolly had used an excavator to dig into the side of a slope, leaving unsupported excavation sides of up to 2.5 metres in height,” the HSE said.

Connolly and his firm were each fined £15,000 ($23,000) and ordered to pay costs after admitting a breach of UK construction regulations.

“Paul Connolly not only endangered himself, but was reckless with the lives of his employees. Every year people are killed or seriously injured by collapsing trenches. The dangers here were obvious,” said HSE inspector Adam Hills in a statement.

“A few simple and inexpensive precautions could have easily prevented this from occurring. To prevent a collapse you should shore, step, or batter back the sides. Do not assume ground will stand up unsupported.”

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