Glasgow & West Scotland

Worker buried alive when trench collapsed in Glasgow

The death of a workman buried alive in a 3m deep trench was "unnecessary and preventable", a sheriff has ruled.

Graeme Scott fell and "disappeared" under debris and soil in the trench where he was laying pipes in Glasgow in April 2008.

The trench then caved in on the 30-year-old before colleagues could save him, an inquiry at the city's sheriff court was told.

The sheriff said proper training and practices may have prevented the death.

Mr Scott was killed while working for Cameron and Stevenson (Scotland) Ltd in Glasgow's Cranhill Park.

Lethal results

The sheriff ruled that the labourer died of a chest injury and probable suffocation.

In a written judgment, Sheriff John McCormick concluded: "The death of Graeme Scott was entirely unnecessary and preventable had trench boxes and edge protection been used and the spoil deposited more than 3m from the trench edge, in accordance with accepted good practice.

"Unfortunately, this event is one more example of health and safety practice, training and procedures being ignored in the interests of expediency with lethal results."

Mr Scott, of Torryburn, Dunfermline, had been laying the pipes with his colleagues on 3 April, 2008.

The inquiry heard that on the day of Mr Scott's death neither of the two trench boxes, given to the men to work inside while in the trench, were used.

But, it was heard that one of the trench boxes was used on the job up until the day of the incident.

'Not clear'

After Mr Scott had fallen in, foreman William Parry tried to move the dirt from his head using an excavator, but as soon as he touched it the trench collapsed.

On the decision not to use a trench box, Sheriff McCormick noted: "What is not clear is why Mr Parry and his team would depart from such basic health and safety practices and procedures.

"If, as I have found, time was not a constraint, it seems that the only reason why the trench was dug without trench protection and the spoil deposited dangerously close to the edge of the trench on 3rd April 2008 was to avoid the inconvenience of having to move one or both trench boxes."

He added: "I am satisfied that all of the equipment required for the excavation was provided by Cameron & Stevenson (Scotland) Ltd."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites