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FALLING CRANE LOAD NARROWLY MISSED FOOTPATH

Firm fined after tower crane hook ‘broke off’ and load crashed 36m to ground

London Tower Crane Hire & Sales Limited has been ordered to pay almost £24k in fines and prosecution costs after the hook of a tower crane ‘broke off’ and the load fell towards a student campus in November 2007.

The incident took place at Hertfordshire Regional College near Cheshunt and the impact demolished a site boundary fence and damaged a college building.

Safety critical faults not acted upon

HSE Inspector Norman Macritchie said:

“It was a matter of good fortune that no-one was injured in this entirely avoidable incident. Those undertaking lifting operations have absolute duties to plan, supervise and carry them out safely.

Maintenance staff had identified safety-critical faults in the crane yet simple controls needed to prevent use of defective equipment were not implemented.

Poor communication and teamwork, together with inadequate supervision, all contributed to this incident.

This case has important lessons for all those operating lifting equipment and especially tower cranes.”

London Tower Crane Hire & Sales Limited were prosecuted for breaching:

  • HSW Act Section 3(1) Work etc Act 1974
  • Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 Regulation 5(2)
Robust safety systems now in place

The London Tower Crane Hire & Sales Limited, operations director Martin Harvey told Cranes Today:

“In response to this incident we have implemented dynamic and robust safety systems addressing the specific failings of this incident and wider risks across our operations.

We welcome the comments from the HSE and have continually strived since this incident in cooperation with the HSE to learn these critical lessons.

We are satisfied that the circumstances which contributed to this incident in November 2007, no longer exist within our business and that our systems and procedures are currently industry leading.”

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