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FIRM CONVICTED OVER CRANE FATALITIES

Jury convicts crane company and “significant” fine expected

W D Bennett Plant and Services Ltd, of Gloucestershire has been convicted of offences under the HSW Act following a two-week trial at Chichester Crown Court. A subsidiary company , Eurolift, pleaded guilty to other charges before the trial started. The prosecutions follow an incident on a Worthing construction site in February 2005.

The two men who died were working on the jib of the crane whilst a third man was working on the mast. He was instructed to start de-torquing the crane mast bolts and should have slackened the bolts one-by-one and then re-tightened each in turn. However, he was not trained in this job and he failed to re-tighten the bolts. This caused the crane to collapse as it was moved.

HSE Inspector Peter Collingwood, who led the investigation, said: “This was a tragic and highly avoidable accident in which two men lost their lives. It was caused by the inadequate supervision of a worker who was not trained, nor competent for the task that he was asked to undertake.”

Nigel Lithman QC for the Crown told the court “the crane collapsed because an unqualified man was left to carry out safety critical work and was not supervised when he did so. There was no safe system of work in place and there ought to have been.”

Judge William Wood adjourned the case for sentencing pending financial reports required to inform the level of “significant” fine that Judge Wood said the companies would face. The son of one of the men who died said the result would help his family move on from the tragedy.

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2 Responses to “FIRM CONVICTED OVER CRANE FATALITIES”

  1. CONVICTED CRANE COMPANY IN ADMINISTRATION | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] company WD Bennett Plant and Services Ltd is now in administration. The company was recently convicted of health and safety offences and fined arising from the Worthing crane collapse in 2005 which […]

  2. CRANE DOUBLE FATALITY PROSCUTION | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] (Tower Cranes) Ltd has today been fined £50k at Chichester Crown Court after conviction of an HSW Act offence arising the death of two workmen in 2005. […]