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Written by
on 18 January 2012


A young father of two has had his whole life changed after an accident which has left him paralysed. David Collins has been told he will never be able to walk again after metal tubes fell from a crane on top of him while he worked.

The 31 year old was working for Spectra Scaffolding at the time of the accident. The metal tubes were being unloaded from the back of a truck using a crane that was being operated by Mr Collins. Each tube was 21 feet in length and weighted almost one and a half tonnes. As Mr Collins worked the controls of the crane a sling which was attached to the hook of the crane came off. As a result the tubes fell directly onto Mr Collins who was left with severe injuries to his leg, back and his head.

Health and Safety Services Provide Training for Employers and Employees

It was discovered by the Health and Safety Executive that Mr Collins had not been given adequate training to man the crane by his employers, Spectra Scaffolding.  In addition to the lack of training the inspection conducted after the incident also discovered that he was not being supervised as he unloaded the tubes.

Another problem came to light when it was found that the safety hook was faulty and had been in this state for some time previous to the accident involving Mr Collins. This fault is the reason why the tubes fell, and despite Spectra Scaffold being fully aware of the fault they did not address the issue and replace the faulty equipment.

£40,000 Fine for Failing Their Employee

As a result of the findings discovered through the investigation Spectra Scaffolding were prosecuted by the HSE. They were fined £40,000 for breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment and Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. In addition to the fine the company have been ordered to pay £45,000 in costs.

Training and Crane Maintenance Need to Be a Priority

In this case Mr Collins needed to have been given full training when dealing with lorry mounted cranes. The removal of the tubes had not been planned and the equipment being used for the job was not in good working order. It is clear that all of these failings have resulted in one man being left paralysed and his life has been changed permanently.

Prevention is Better than Any Cure

Veritas Consulting offer various health and safety services designed to help prevent accidents like this from happening. It is your duty as a company owner and employer to know the regulations which are in place to prevent injuries and loss of life in the workplace.

Health and safety consultants are able to help you to understand what you are legally and morally obliged to do. This includes full and complete training and the importance of risk assessments and planning. Call 0800 1488 677 for help and advice on the various health and safety services available.

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.