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Firm fined over cherry picker crash

York-based contractor Shepherd Construction has been hit with a £20,000 fine after a cherry picker overturned on a concealed man hole cover, leaving its driver with serious injuries to his skull, back and legs.

The firm was brought before magistrates in Nottingham following the incident in the city centre in August 2007.

The court heard how a contractor on the Trinity Square construction site had driven over a concealed man hole cover which subsequently gave way under the weight of the vehicle, causing it to topple over, injuring the driver.

Shepherd Construction was also criticised for putting the public at risk during the incident after the arm of the vehicle crashed in a busy area that was fortunately unoccupied at the time. Following the incident, Milton Street in central Nottingham was blocked off for almost six hours.

Real risk

The firm pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £20,000 plus £6,900 costs.

HSE inspector Martin Giles said: “Operators of mobile elevating work platforms, such as scissor lifts and cherry pickers, must be warned about man hole covers and underground services because there is a real risk of them collapsing and heavy vehicles toppling over.”

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