Ethentic Ethentic Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data
  • Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data Ethentic Ethentic

    TOWER CRANE COLLAPSE TRIGGERED BY FOUNDATION ERRORS

    Catastrophic event avoided multiple fatalities by ‘pure chance’

    Bowmer and Kirkland Ltd and Bingham Davis Ltd have been sentenced following the collapse of a tower crane in Liverpool city centre resulting in the crane driver being paralysed from the waist down. The crane was being used in construction of an eight-storey hotel and seven apartment blocks at Kings Dock Mill when it overturned on 6 July 2009.

    A picture showing the damage the crane has caused. Picture by SparklemediaLiverpool Crown Court heard how the crane collapsed onto a partially constructed apartment block, across a road coming to rest on occupied apartments. Eight crane counterweights (56 tonnes) crashed through the roof and travelled six floors down into the building.

    Crane driver Iain Gillham, aged 55, fell from the crane cab onto the roof of the apartments and through the hole created by the counterweights. He suffered multiple injuries including a brain haemorrhage and spinal injuries which resulted in his legs being paralysed.

    There were no injuries to residents who were evacuated from the apartments. Some residents were rescued from their balconies and damage to the building was extensive. Residents were unable to return to their homes for nearly two years.

    Foundations unable to cope with the forces involved

    During construction of the crane foundation the defendants agreed to cut away steel reinforcement bars (rebar) from four concrete foundation piles to enable the crane feet to rest on the piles. The rebar was replaced with four steel rods in each pile.

    Judge Gilmour said he was satisfied that removal of the reinforcing steel and replacement with steel rods resulted in the foundation being unable to cope with the forces of the crane. This led to the foundation being overloaded and the crane collapsing. Judge Gilmour added that the errors were a result of “haste” and not cost-cutting.

    The HSE investigating inspector Warren Pennington said:

    “HSE hopes this case sends a clear message to the construction industry in relation to tower cranes foundations.

    Designers of such should be familiar with industry accepted guidance and follow it, unless they have extremely well thought-out reasons for not doing so.

    The role of the Principal Contractor is also crucial in managing the design process. Both Principal Contractors and Designers should ensure that robust systems for design checking are actioned at all times.”

    Disastrous errors that were entirely preventable

    Bingham Davis Ltd, formerly of Temple Street in Liverpool, has ceased trading since the crane collapse. The company was fined a nominal £1,000. Judge Gilmore said that Bingham Davis would have faced a £400,000 fine were the business not now in liquidation and without assets.

    Bowmer and Kirkland Ltd, of Heage, Derbyshire, was fined £280,000. A decision on prosecution costs will be made separately. The company has issued a statement saying: 

    “We extend our sympathies to Iain Gilham who most regrettably suffered serious injury as a result of this incident and to Iain’s family and any others who were affected. Bowmer and Kirkland recognise the seriousness of the incident and the verdict reached by the court.

    This was an isolated incident and we take our responsibility for health and safety very seriously. We maintain investment in continuous improvement of our quality and health & safety systems, together with staff training and are committed to ensuring an incident like this can never be allowed to happen again.”

    HSE inspector Warren Pennington added:

    “Serious failings were uncovered during an extensive and complex investigation into the crane collapse. Iain Gillman will be unable to walk for the rest of his life as a result and it was only by pure chance that this catastrophic event did not result in multiple fatalities.

    The circumstances leading to the collapse were a mess. Bingham Davis employees had no previous experience of designing the type of crane foundation and Bowmer & Kirkland’s employees at Kings Dock Mill had no experience of building one. Both parties made disastrous errors that were entirely preventable.

    Bingham Davis Ltd failed to spot a basic mistake in its calculations for the loadings imposed by the crane which had the potential for a crane foundation being constructed that was not strong enough. The company advised Bowmer and Kirkland to cut away essential steel reinforcing bars in the foundation piles and replace such with steel rods.

    Removal of the reinforcing steel resulted in the foundation being too weak to support the crane. The foundation was further weakened when Bowmer and Kirkland failed to ensure the adequate insertion of the replacement steel rods. Neither Company did enough to check what the result would be of cutting away this essential steel reinforcement and replacing such with steel rods.”

    Comment

    HSE point out that over the past decade, nine people have died and there have been 25 serious injuries as a result of incidents involving tower cranes.

    The Safe Crane Campaign was instigated by the UK construction industry in 2008 to ensure that tower cranes on UK construction sites are safely erected, maintained, operated and dismantled. A range of best practice guidance is in place to drive forward improvements in the tower crane safety.

    Latest Construction Health and Safety News

    FESTIVE GREETINGS TO ALL OUR READERS

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th December 2018

    POSITIVE STORY ON FRAGILE SURFACE HAZARDS

    Major roofing contractor testifies to working from below roof

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th December 2018

    LEISURE CENTRE USER FELL ILL AFTER SHOWER USE

    Legionella risk assessment and control measures found wanting

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th December 2018

    STONE CUTTING MACHINE GUARDS FAILED HSE TEST

    Precautions taken following HSE enforcement fell into disuse

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th December 2018

    ROOFWORK CREATED CARBON MONOXIDE RISK

    Falling rubble damaged and blocked home chimney flue

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th December 2018

    HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 19th DEC 2018

    hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices register latest version

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th December 2018

    HSE SAFETY ALERT: TOWER CRANE BRAKES

    Collapse of tower crane jib in high winds prompts HSE warning

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 11th December 2018

    VISITING ENGINEER CRUSHED BY SCAFFOLD TUBES

    Principal contractor “signed off” contractor storage arrangements

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 11th December 2018

    CONCRETE EJECTED BY PUMPING UNIT CLAIMED LIFE

    Company and director failed to train and supervise pumping operations

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 5th December 2018

    REFRESHED GUIDANCE ON FITNESS TO OPERATE PLANT

    Construction plant medical fitness Good Practice Guide

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 4th December 2018

    MAJOR CONTRACTOR & LUL USED UNSAFE SYSTEM

    Work method to eliminate moving vehicle hazard not adopted

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 4th December 2018

    OVERTURNING LORRY CAUSED DEATH OF DRIVER

    Groundworks project stockpiling arrangements not properly managed

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 3rd December 2018

    FORTH BRIDGE LIFTING OPERATION NOT PLANNED

    Major project PC failed to plan, supervise and carry out lift safely

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 3rd December 2018

    DEVELOPER FAILED ON ASBESTOS ASSESSMENT

    HSE inspection revealed refurb works without asbestos survey

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 28th November 2018

    POST DRIVER HAMMER CRUSHED HAND OF WORKMAN

    Unsafe system of work for vehicle crash barrier installation

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 28th November 2018

    WORKER FELL FROM LOFT THROUGH CEILING

    Major house builder lacked understanding of loft fragile surfaces risk

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 28th November 2018

    NEW SITE DUMPER SAFETY GUIDANCE ISSUED

    Construction plant sector concerns prompts CPA consults on draft

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 28th November 2018

    CCTV INSTALLER FELL THROUGH FRAGILE ROOFLIGHT

    Contractor failed to properly plan and control the risks

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 28th November 2018

    VISITOR DIED FALLING INTO CONCEALED BASEMENT

    Contractor failed to protect basement void on domestic project

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 28th November 2018

    RACKING FALL REVEALED UNSAFE SYSTEM OF WORK

    European firm fined £300,000 after UK sub-contractor employee fell

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th November 2018

    FAILURE TO ACT ON VIBRATION AND SILICA HAZARDS

    Worker health put at risk during stripping of furnace lining

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th November 2018

    MAJOR FM FIRM FAILED TO MAINTAIN BACK-UP POWER

    Power loss at laboratory site created potential risk from biological agents

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th November 2018

    IGNORING HSE PROHIBITIONS COST FIRM £250,000

    CDM 2015 and work at height requirements repeatedly breached

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 16th November 2018

    ROOF COLLAPSED UNDER EXCESS LOADING

    Director and company fined over roof design failures

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 11th November 2018

    FORK LIFT OVERTURNED IN SCAFFOLDING YARD

    Untrained operator suffered life changing crush injuries

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 10th November 2018
    Ethentic Ethentic Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data
  • Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data Ethentic Ethentic