Failure to plan (a second article) and to do the basics – lifting operation

Same start as the first article: Lifting operations must be planned. Not a difficult concept. Think about what is being lifted (the load) and what can go wrong, and make suitable arrangements.

The construction firm BAM Nuttall has been fined more than £800,000 after a worker was struck by a large expanded polystyrene (EPS) block.

[AS] was working on the construction of a piling platform (used for construction plant such as rigs or mobile cranes) at Redhill Station in Surrey in 2017 when one of the blocks hit him on the head, fracturing three of his vertebrae. On 20 January an EPS block slipped from the excavator bucket whilst being lowered into place. An investigation by the HSE found that the lifting operation had not been properly planned and the block was simply held between the arm of the excavator and the bucket.

[AS] still experiences problems after the injury and is likely to be on medication to ease the pain for the foreseeable future.
The company admitted breaching S2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £833,333 and ordered to pay £5,478 costs at Brighton Magistrates’ Court. BAM, with a reported turnover of £750m for 2018, is classed as a “very large” organisation under the sentencing guidelines for safety and health offices.
HSE inspector Andrew Cousins said:
This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply using appropriate lifting accessories such as chains and strops to carry out the lifting operation.


  • BAM Nuttall was fined £900,000 in April last year after a painter fell through a fragile railway station ceiling into a passenger waiting room and sustained severe ligament damage.
  • In July 2017 BFK, a joint venture between BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial and Kier, was fined more than £1m over three separate accidents during the construction of the western tunnels for London’s Crossrail project.
  • It was also fined £56,000 in 2014 after workers were exposed to lead during the refurbishment of the Nab Tower, and £140,000 over an incident in 2010 in which a construction worker was crushed under a six-tonne concrete and steel beam.