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Trench collapse injuries forced Lincolnshire kickboxer to quit sport

By Sleaford Target  |  Posted: June 22, 2012


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A FORMER England kick boxer from Billinghay had to give up the sport after an injury at work left him with a dislocated hip socket and shattered pelvis, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

Zak Davis, 36, was buried to his waist in a trench while laying drain pipes after heavy rain last August.

Mr Davis had been working on a small housing development just off Wragby Road in Bardney when the incident happened.

He was laying drain pipes in a trench being dug by an excavator. It had been raining heavily during the day. While he was in the trench the digger operator noticed the walls beginning to crack and shouted a warning but before Mr Davis could escape he was hit by the falling material, including a large lump of concrete, and was pinned down by his legs.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Tony Mitchell said: "Excavation work is a high risk activity, but the risks are foreseeable and preventable.

"The site had previously been a farm. It had been demolished and the rubble spread on site as top fill. The subsoil beneath it was predominantly compacted sandy soil, so the ground conditions were poor.

"However, this was not properly identified as high risk before work started, the rain made the soil structure more unstable and the trench collapsed because it was not sufficiently supported.

"This incident could have been prevented by the use of mechanical trench supports or by sloping the trench sides further. Instead, a man has been left with life-changing injuries."

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found Nottinghamshire-based company Phil Watson Civil Engineering Ltd had failed to assess the ground conditions and the effect that the rain would have, and failed to install measures to prevent a trench collapse.

The company was fined £10,000 after it failed to comply with safety checks following the bad weather.

Phil Watson Civil Engineering Ltd, based in Shirebrook, near Mansfield, admitted the charge of breaching regulations by failing to assess ground conditions and the effect of the rain.

The company also failed to install the measures to prevent the trench from collapsing.

The company was also fined £2,141 in legal costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

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  • InsideStory  |  June 24 2012, 7:27PM

    If the correct procedures have gone through such as filling out the forms stating hazards and witness's are obtained the employers have no leg to stand on in court.I always put things in writing and also take copy's of correspondence regarding any dispute with my employers and would always advice others to do the same.

  • nigelsparky  |  June 24 2012, 6:15PM

    Yes indeed inside story I quite agree, but what happens when it's proven that the employee has ignored health and safety measures, does the employee get fined by the HSE? I would be interested to know.

  • InsideStory  |  June 24 2012, 6:05PM

    Health and Safety is the responsibility of the employees as well as the employer we know but when issues are brought to the attention of employers and nothing is done about the issues then the employer deserves everything thrown at them for not complying with the laws and not taking the law seriously enough and thinking of saving money rather than peoples heath and safety.

  • nigelsparky  |  June 24 2012, 4:14PM

    The point Roadscource is trying to put over this: A company that is turning over say 20 million pounds a year, a fine of 10 thousand pounds is quite insignificant. However a company that is turning over say 250 thousand pounds a year, then a 10 thousand pound fine is very significant don't you think? just a thought. Also on insidestory's point, the responsibility of the implementation of health and safety measures doesn't just stop at the employers do they, the employees are just as responsible for their implementation as well, and of course using their common sense.

  • Gnome_Chomsky  |  June 22 2012, 7:48PM

    Neither life imprisonment nor the death penalty have proved a deterrant in the USA or China. Maybe there's something a little deeper to the debate about justice than short, sharp comments on a local newspaper website.

    |   -9
  • InsideStory  |  June 22 2012, 7:01PM

    An awful amount of employers don't even bother with Heath and Safety checks or risk assessments of any kind and deserve everything that is thrown at them when the inevitable happens. But looking at it another way that's an advantages when making a claim of negligence against the employer who doesn't take care of their employees health and well being.

    |   3
  • TB78WHlNE  |  June 22 2012, 2:08PM

    No, it isn't a deterrent, it's a punishment that's appropriate for the offence being committed. If you wanted a deterrent, you'd have life imprisonment for everything from parking violations to murder. But that would be stupid, wouldn't it?

    |   4
  • Roadscource  |  June 22 2012, 1:28PM

    Back to the footballer, fine him 60 quid and the punishment is not a deterrant.

    |   -3
  • TB78WHlNE  |  June 22 2012, 1:26PM

    Roadscource, this isn't difficult. The punishment should reflect the crime, not the criminal. A fine of £10,000 is far more substantial than a £20 parking ticket and thus adequately reflects the seriousness of the infraction.

    |   3
  • OldLincolnia  |  June 22 2012, 12:59PM

    Dreadfully good pun Sir_Chasm - "when in a hole"

    |   -4