Gillingham, United Kingdom
Two UK companies have been fined a total of £50,000 following the overturn of a mobile crane in 2009.
South Coast Crane Hire Ltd and principal contractors, JR Pickstock Ltd were each fined £10,000 plus 14,917 in costs and charged with a serious failure in communications. Neither was sure if the job was a crane hire or a contract lift. As such neither appears to have carried out any proper planning or supervision. One of the crane’s rear outriggers sank into the ground causing the 80 tonne crane to overturn.
Thankfully no one was hurt, but the crane’s boom is said to have narrowly missed several people and a busy road next to the nursing home site in Gillingham, UK.
The HSE investigation found that there was no competent person, no lift plan and important information – including the weights of the load and ground conditions – were not considered. The lift was unsafe with the crane overloaded and set up on poor ground. As a result it overturned, with its 50 metre boom coming down across the site. It said that a larger crane should have been used and larger ground mats were needed to spread the crane’s outrigger loadings, given the poor ground conditions.
The court was told that the contract did not meet industry guidance, which clearly states that a competent person should be appointed to plan the lift, with the crane hire company providing the person for a contract lift or the contractor for a straight crane hire. Either way South Coast Crane should have ensured this happened when it booked the crane.
A lift plan should have been drawn-up by the competent person and communicated to those involved in the work. The principal contractor should also have taken all reasonable steps to ensure the construction phase plan identified risks to health and safety and included measures to address risks.
HSE inspector Kathy Gostick said: “This incident could have led to death and serious injury and was a direct result of a catalogue of failures by the two companies. Good communications between all those involved in crane operations and all other construction activities is vital to ensure lifting operations are properly planned, particularly those involving the use of heavy mobile cranes working in a busy area such as a construction site. Had it been clearly established by both South Coast Crane Hire and JR Pickstock who was responsible for planning the lift when the lift hire contract was set up is highly unlikely that the crane would have overturned putting a number of workers and people on the road at unnecessary risk.”
Category: Accident Report