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Galliford Try fined after cherry picker driver thrown under a bus

A contractor was ordered to pay over £28,000 in fines and costs after a worker was seriously injured when he was catapaulted from his cherry picker and was hit by a bus

Galliford Try was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £16,459.70 after the incident at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel and Chambers.

The cherry picker’s driver Leszek Soltysiak suffered serious head, arm, pelvis and leg injuries and was off work for most of last year.

He had been reversing the cherry picker onto  Euston Road unaware that a double decker bus had just turned into the road. His colleague waved at the bus to try to get it to stop but it was dark and the bus driver saw nothing. The top of the bus hit the cherry picker’s operator platform forcing its jib into a brick gatepost. The collision catapulted Mr Soltysiak four metres onto the ground below in front of the bus. The bus driver braked, believing he had hit a tree, but Mr Soltysiak was dragged for 15 metres along the road under the bus.

The Health and Safety Executive told Westminster Magistrates Court that the incident could have been avoided if Galliford Try had properly planned and supervised the work.

HSE Inspector Paul Hems said: “This worker narrowly escaped death after a series of events which almost seem unbelievable but in fact could have proved fatal. A 14-metres long slow-moving machine, not suitable for use on a public highway, was moved against the flow of traffic on to a three-lane road. Both workers were without high visibility clothing and there were no visible warning lights on the cherry-picker despite it being early morning and still dark which made it, and the men, effectively invisible to the bus driver. The dangers involved using cherry-pickers are well known and yet the company failed to ensure safe movement of the vehicle between different compounds at the site.”

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