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Hacquoil and Cook Ltd fined £32,500 plus costs for unsafe lifting operations

16 May 2023

Hacquoil and Cook Limited was fined £32,500 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs by the Royal Court on 21st April 2023 after pleading guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law 1989. 

A Hacquoil and Cook employee was operating a 5 tonne Bobcat Compact excavator on a construction site on 16th February 2022 when, while lifting an assortment of palletised, loose granite slabs, the excavator tipped over and ended up balanced on a partially constructed wall.  The load the excavator was lifting subsequently fell outside the site boundary and onto an embankment making up part of Sir Winston Churchill Memorial Gardens. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt during the incident, although the operator was signed off for a week due to shock. 

The lift was one of a series of lifts due to be carried out on site that day, which primarily involved movement of suspended palletised loads of stone up or down a sloping driveway. The investigation by the Health and Safety Inspectorate identified the employee had been provided with basic training in the use of an excavator in 2018 by a previous employer. This did not extend to include lifting operations, a specialist operation. Furthermore, whilst Hacquoil and Cook had prepared a written safe work method statement for the lifting operations this was not considered suitable or sufficient. 

The Health and Safety Inspectorate would like to remind employers that excavators are primarily used for excavating and handling loose material rather than lifting suspended loads and should not be used to undertake multiple lifts. Excavators should only be selected for lifting operations when it is not reasonably practicable to provide machines specifically designed for such operations such as cranes, telehandlers etc., justified through robust risk assessment. Using an excavator for lifting operations bring additional risks not present with specifically designed plant for lifting, and requires the operator to have received specific training and assessment of competence in lifting operations with excavators.

Further Information   

Further guidance on lifting operations with a 180 or 360-degree excavator is available via SFPSG-Guidance-on-Lifting-with-Excavators (

Further guidance on competence of construction plant operators is available on the HSI website 

Competence of construction plant operators (

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