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    VEHICLE CRANE FAILURES LEAVE WORKER PARALYSED

    Defective catch, poor training and slinging practice caused life changing incident

    Spectra Scaffolding Ltd has been prosecuted after a scaffolder was crushed by scaffold tubes which fell from a vehicle mounted crane on 7 November 2008 on refurbishment project in Stoke-on-Trent. David Collins, a 31-year-old father of two suffered severe injuries to his head, back and leg and is now paraplegic.

    Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard how Mr Collins was unloading scaffolding tubes from the back of a truck using a vehicle-mounted crane. He was standing under the load and operating the crane controls when a sling detached from the crane hook causing the scaffold tubes to fall onto him. HSE investigators found Mr Collins had not been properly trained or supervised and that work was not properly planned.

    The court also heard that a safety catch on the crane hook was faulty. The company had known about this for some time before the incident yet no action was taken to replace the catch. Mr Collins had not been trained to realise the importance of the catch.

    Workman not sufficiently trained in use of crane and slings

    Spectra Scaffolding, of Warth Road Industrial Estate, Bury, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £45,000 costs.

    HSE inspector Mr Lindsay Hope said after the hearing:

    “As a result of this incident Mr Collins has been severely disabled and could easily have been killed.

    Companies that operate lorry-mounted cranes must ensure their operators undertake appropriate, recognised training in all aspects. Operators of lorry-mounted cranes must be competent to use the equipment properly and plan safe lifting in variable site conditions.

    In this instance, the lift wasn’t properly planned or supervised and Mr Collins hadn’t been sufficiently trained in how to use the crane and slings properly.

    Furthermore, the equipment had not been properly maintained and should never have been used.”

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