Safety Call After Kishorn Quarry Worker Crushed to Death

A worker’s death at a Highland quarry has prompted a sheriff to call for an industry-wide alert on the safe use of quarrying equipment.

Pawel Kocik was working on a stone crusher when he was accidently struck by the arm of an excavator.

Sheriff Gary Aitken said the Health and Safety Executive should issue a bulletin on the correct use of a safety control lever involved in the accident. His call follows a fatal accident inquiry into Mr Kocik’s death.

Aberdeen-based Leith Scotland Ltd was fined £130,000 last year over the accident at Kishorn Quarry, near Lochcarron, in May 2017. Mr Kocik died after the excavator’s operator accidently came into contact with a control joystick on his machine.

Sheriff Aitken also said HSE should instruct a review of operator manuals for the equipment. In his determination, he said:

“There is no great dispute as to the circumstances of Mr Kocik’s tragic death.

“He was assisting his colleague to prepare a mobile rock crusher for operation later that day.

“He was not instructed or requested to do so, but chose to do so as a conscientious worker wishing to assist a friend and colleague.”

Sheriff Aitken added:

“He was a young family man who was clearly very well thought of by his employers and colleagues. His untimely death is no doubt still keenly felt by his family.”

HSE said it was carefully considering the issues raised in the sheriff’s determination and was already talking to the industry about safety improvements. A spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with the victim’s family and everyone involved in this terrible incident.”