Turner Access Higher Safety Total Access
Total Access Ethentic Chipmunk Data
Chipmunk Data Turner Access 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

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 21st FEB 2018

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 21st February 2018

CLEANING ASBESTOS CEMENT ROOF CAUSED DANGER

High pressure jet washing spread asbestos fibres around premises

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 21st February 2018

HSE INSPECTOR GUIDE TO RISK ASSESSMENT

Regulator offers training course on all aspects of risk assessment

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 21st February 2018

PUZZLES HELP DELIVER HEALTH RISKS AWARENESS

Innovative puzzle products supplier extends the range of training aids

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 20th February 2018

NEW ISO 45001 MANAGEMENT STANDARD IMMINENT

Standard capable of replacing OHSAS 18001 with relative ease

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 20th February 2018

APPEAL COURT RULES ON LEGAL PRIVILEGE CASE

Decision may prompt further caution during internal investigations

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 20th February 2018

TIPPER TRUCK STRUCK PEDESTRIAN ON SITE ROAD

Contractor fined £500,000 over poor traffic management arrangements

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 16th February 2018

FALLING SCAFFOLD CLIP STRUCK PASSER-BY

Firm failed to follow risk assessment and method statement

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 16th February 2018

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 14th FEB 2018

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 16th February 2018

HOMES FIRM FINED £1/2M OVER DUMPER DEATH

Developer and contractor failed to manage people and plant interface

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 14th February 2018

SUPREME COURT RULES ON HSE ENFORCEMENT NOTICES

Post service evidence can be used to support HSE notice appeals

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 9th February 2018

SAFE INSTALLATION OF PRE-CAST FLOORING

Code of Practice for health and safety updated by industry federation

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 8th February 2018

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 8th FEB 2018

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 8th February 2018

MANUAL HANDLING MUST INVOLVE ‘REAL RISK’

Court provides clarity on manual handling risk assessment rules

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 7th February 2018

SKIP LORRY DRIVER FATALLY INJURED BY LOADER

Hire company fined after lorry driver crushed between two vehicles

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 5th February 2018

PUBLIC RISK COSTS CONTRACTOR DEARLY

Principal Contractor failed to assess and supervise work

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 5th February 2018

TUBES FELL WHILST LIFTING OVER PERSONS BELOW

Lifting operations were not carried out in safe manner

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 2nd February 2018

‘DAREDEVIL’ SCAFFOLDER LANDS IN DOCK

Former HSE Inspector snaps dangerous working practices at 60 feet

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 2nd February 2018

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 1st FEB 2018

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 1st February 2018

DIDCOT FATAL COLLAPSE: INVESTIGATION UPDATE

Police and HSE still seeking to understand why boiler house collapsed

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 1st February 2018

SCAFFOLDER TRAINING REACHES NEW HEIGHTS

CISRS training card renewal by CPD embraced by scaffolders

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 30th January 2018

HSE SUMMARY OF CONSTRUCTION SECTOR HARM

Infographic provides insight into industry priority hazards

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 29th January 2018

FIRM FAILED TO IMPLEMENT AGREED CONTROLS

Risk assessment carried out but precautions not taken

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 29th January 2018

HSE MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS SUMMIT 2018

hselogo1Regulator focuses on MSDs in construction and others sectors

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 28th January 2018

LOAD FELL FROM MAGNET AND STRUCK WORKMAN

Firm failed to properly assess and revise crane safe working load

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 25th January 2018
Turner Access Chipmunk Data
Total Access Ethentic
Higher Safety Turner Access