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Quarry operator fined for rock face failure

Derbyshire-based quarry operator Block Stone has been fined after failing to get geotechnical advice when it changed the quarry layout and for a failure that occurred after a crack appeared at the top of the quarry face.

Block Stone has been fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £16,333 in costs after pleading guilty to offences under the Quarries Regulations 1999 and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

The fines were handed down at North Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court. During the hearing, the court was told that in early January 2014, New Pilough Quarry suffered a significant face failure that was not reported to the Health and Safety Executive under Reporting of Industrial Diseases, Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013.

Evidence given showed that before the 2013 Christmas shutdown, the quarry operator identified surface cracks in the superficial deposit of the southern face. At this point the quarry operator should have involved their geotechnical specialist so that remedial action could have been taken which may have involved moving the office and machinery to a place of safety.

When the failure occurred, an office that was situated at the top of the quarry slid, with the ground underneath it to the bottom.

“Had the quarry been properly managed in accordance with the legislation, this event could have been avoided. It is fortunate that the incident occurred during the Christmas shut down,” said HSE inspector Richard Noble. “Had it occurred during a normal working day, people may have been in the office area and they could have been killed or seriously injured.”

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