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CRANE OPERATOR FINED OVER SITE CABIN LIFT

Co-worker crushed during routine lifting operation

A crane operator has been prosecuted after a workman was crushed under a portable building during a routine lifting operation on a Dorset construction project in May 2011.

Bournemouth Magistrates heard (18 June) how 50-year-old Mark Fowell was operating a crane on the site in Hamworthy on 9 May 2011 to lift a mobile site office onto a lorry to be taken away.

Adrian Hoyland had crawled under the cabin to recover materials, when one end was lifted clear of the ground and the cabin was dragged across him. He suffered a fractured pelvis and fractured ribcage, and was unable to work for three months.

HSE investigators established that Mark Fowell had “failed to put a lift plan or any other planning measures” in place. It also found that the crane unit was not sited close enough to the cabin to perform a ‘clean’ lift onto the awaiting lorry.

Lifting operations must be planned by competent people

Mark Fowell, of Poole was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £6,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Martin Lee said:

“This incident was completely avoidable and was a direct result of a lack of any planning for a simple lifting operation. Mr Hoyland suffered significant injuries and the situation would have been far worse had it not been witnessed and the alarm immediately raised.”

All lifting operations, no matter how simple or routine, have the potential to cause serious harm and it is vital that they are always properly planned by suitably competent people. Clear lines of communication are needed to ensure that everyone in the area knows what is to happen and what is expected of them.”

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