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SLING FAILURE DURING PLANT DISMANTLING OPERATION

Girder fall ‘demolished’ unoccupied offices and narrowly missed workmen

Konecranes UK Ltd, a lifting specialist and crane manufacturer, has been prosecuted after workers removing a crane runway narrowly avoided being struck by a falling 4ton steel girder.

The company was moving the overhead runway beam within a warehouse in Newcastle when it collapsed onto an office. The slings used to lift the beam failed.

Newcastle Magistrates’ Court heard that the beam fell around 14m narrowly missing workers and destroying the office. The office was empty at the time of the incident in August 2009.

Failure to plan ended in use of ‘wrong’ equipment

Konecranes UK Ltd, of Lloyds House, Albion Road, West Bromwich, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1)(c) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). The company was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,529.

HSE investigators found that the operation had not been properly planned by Konecranes, which led to the wrong equipment being used.

After the case, HSE Inspector Andrew Woodhall, said:

“This was an entirely preventable incident with the real potential to cause serious injury or even death.

That Konecranes UK ignored the legal requirement for lifting operations to be planned properly and carried out in a safe manner is unacceptable.

The Konecranes operatives had no advance warning of the failure of the slings and as it happened they had a narrow and lucky escape.

Fortunately, no-one was hurt on this occasion but this alarming incident should act as a reminder to others that standards need to be maintained to ensure the safety of workers at all times.”

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