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Written by
on 08 January 2013

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A company in the West Midlands has been fined £146,000 after the death of one of their employees in an incident that occurred in May 2011. The steel company, C Brown & Sons of Dudley was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after Wilfred Williams was crushed by a 15 tonne crane while working.

Before the incident Mr Williams was carrying out some maintenance on a crane. While working six metres above the ground he stopped and stepped out onto a neighbouring crane. The operator of the crane Mr Williams was sitting on as he took the break then moved the crane and crushed him.  During the investigation that followed the HSE discovered some breaches which resulted in the prosecution of the company.

No protection or Safety Equipment – Lack of Safe System of Work

The HSE inspectors discovered that Mr Williams had gained access to the crane using a cherry picker, an unsuitable and unsafe method. A second employee stayed in the basket of the cherry picker while Mr Williams stepped out to carry out the maintenance work. He did not have a harness on and there were no safety protection methods in place to help prevent Mr Williams from falling.  The inspectors also discovered that there was a lack of a safe system of work.

Birmingham Crown Court heard that there was an approved code of practice that should have been followed. There is a specific reference to anyone working near the wheel tracks of a crane and the crane should not be positioned 6 metres of an individual as they risk being hit by the crane. The steel company took no measures to ensure the safety of Mr Williams and the other cranes in the bay where the maintenance was being performed were not isolated to reduce the risks.

Failed the Employee by Not Protecting His Safety at Work

As a result the company pleaded guilty and were fined £120,000 and must pay £26,552 in court costs. The fine was for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act, Section 2(1). The incident could have been prevented with health and safety measures in place and the inspectors found that the company was aware of the risks yet nothing had been done to reduce them.

Learn How to Avoid Fatalities and Injuries While Working at Height

Working at height is extremely dangerous and those who perform jobs like these need to have their safety protected. You can learn more about working at height regulations and the Health and Safety at Work Act by contacting your health and safety consultants.  There are many health and safety services that will help you to avoid fatalities, serious injuries and prosecution. Speak to our experts by calling 0800 1488 677.

About 

Chartered health and safety consultant. 20+ years helping busy people in construction and the built environment. David provides how-to articles, advice and guidance to help explain and make compliance easier for clients. A solutionist with a brain you can pick. And you can easily get in touch with David on social media Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

Chartered health and safety consultant. 20+ years helping busy people in construction and the built environment. David provides how-to articles, advice and guidance to help explain and make compliance easier for clients. A solutionist with a brain you can pick. And you can easily get in touch with David on social media Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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