A NORTH Yorkshire company has been fined £330,500 after one of its employees was killed in an incident on a construction site.

Dean Myers, 56, was hit on the head by a 16-ton excavator and died at the scene from what the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) described as “catastrophic injuries”.

He was part of a team from HACS Construction Ltd doing groundwork in a partially excavated trench that was being prepared for laying new drainage.

HSE inspector Ben Caines said: “This tragic incident could so easily have been avoided had HACS Construction Limited simply ensured that adequate control measures and safe working practices were identified and followed.

“The company should have put in place measures including the use of trained plant marshals for high-risk activities, such as the work Mr Myers was undertaking.

"Such measures are widely recognised and used across the construction industry as well as being advised within HSE and industry guidance.”

The company, of Station Yard, Ripley near Harrogate pleaded guilty to failure to ensure the safety of its employees. It was fined £330,500 and ordered to pay £9,141.80 costs and a £190 statutory surcharge at Leeds Magistrates Court.

The HSE said Mr Myers died on January 13, 2021, at the construction site in Ripon.

He had moved to the foot of an existing manhole directly adjacent to the trench when the excavator was reported to have met resistance whilst digging.

With nothing in place to prevent his entry into the danger zone of the excavator, Mr Myers exited the manhole via a makeshift opening to investigate.

However, the excavator driver and other workers were not in a position to see that he had entered the danger zone. The excavator bucket then swung into him with fatal consequences, injuring his face and head.

An ambulance was called and paramedics attended, but were unable to save Mr Myers’ life. They declared him dead at the scene.

HSE’s investigation found that HACS Construction Limited had failed to identify or assess the risk arising from using the existing manhole chamber as an improvised refuge.

This meant the company failed to implement a system whereby workers were prevented from entering the dangerous working zone of the excavator while the machine was being operated by a driver with limited sight.

There was also inadequate supervision on site, alongside a failure to carry out monitoring visits which would have identified crucial safety failings, an HSE statement said.

HSE guidance for use of an excavator include include considering clearance, visibility and the bucket attachment.