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MANAGING DIRECTOR £80k FINE FOLLOWS CRANE OVERTURN

Defective mobile overturned fatally injuring nearby construction workman

Siteweld Construction Ltd and managing director Bejamin Lee have been sentenced after a father-of-two was crushed to death when a crane overturned in Liverpool in March 2007

Richard Mark Thornton died when a 50-tonne crane toppled whilst moving a steel column. Mr Thornton was involved in construction of a new floor on a warehouse at Wavertree Business Park when he was struck by the column. The company and MD were prosecuted for failing to make sure the work was planned and carried out safely.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the crane had been used to lift the six-tonne steel column when it was well outside its safe lifting capacity. HSE investigators found the crane had not been properly maintained and the external alarm could not be heard by those working nearby. The override switches were also faulty, including the switch that prevented the crane lifting loads beyond its capacity.

Safety warnings and procedures were ignored

Benjamin Lee, 36 of Goosnargh, Preston, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. He was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £18,478 in prosecution costs on 16 December 2011.

Siteweld Construction Ltd, of Longridge, Preston, pleaded guilty to the same offence. It received a nominal fine of £50 with no costs as it has ceased trading. Bryn Thomas Crane Hire Ltd, and crane operator, Frederick Scott, were prosecuted and sentenced at an earlier hearing 11 April 2011.

Sarah Wadham, the investigating inspector at HSE, said:

“It is tragic that Mr Thornton died because a series of health and safety warnings and procedures were ignored. The crane was simply not capable of lifting the steel column, when it was nearly 18 metres away, without it being overloaded.

If the work had been properly planned, and the crane had been properly maintained, then Mr Thornton would still be alive today. It is vital construction companies learn from this case to prevent similar deaths in the future.”

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One Response to “MANAGING DIRECTOR £80k FINE FOLLOWS CRANE OVERTURN”

  1. HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 22 FEBRUARY 2012 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] Mr Benjamin James Lee – fatal mobile crane lifting operation: £80,000; […]