A lack of training, supervision and failure to maintain equipment, led to a horrific accident, which resulted in HGV driver from Manchester , being unable to walk again after being crushed by metal tubes which fell from a crane.
David Collins, a 31-year-old father of two who worked for Bury firm Spectra Scaffolding, suffered severe injuries to his head, back and leg and is now paraplegic.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Spectra Scaffolding following the incident on 7 November 2008 at Festival Park, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, where refurbishment to retail premises was being undertaken. Mr Collins was unloading 21ft long scaffolding tubes from the back of a truck using a vehicle-mounted crane. As he stood under the load operating the crane controls, one of the lifting slings detached from the crane hook, causing the metal tubes, which weighed nearly one and a half tonnes, to fall onto him. A safety catch on the crane hook was faulty, which led to the scaffolding tubes falling. Although the company had known about this for some time before the incident, no action was taken to replace the catch and Mr Collins had not been trained to realise its importance.
HSE’s investigation into the incident found Mr Collins had not been properly trained or supervised and Spectra Scaffolding had failed to plan the work adequately. HSE inspector Mr Lindsay Hope said after the hearing: “As a result of this incident Mr Collins has been severely disabled and could easily have been killed. Companies that operate lorry-mounted cranes must ensure their operators undertake appropriate, recognised training in all aspects. Operators of lorry-mounted cranes must be competent to use the equipment properly and plan safe lifting in variable site conditions. In this instance, the lift wasn’t properly planned or supervised and Mr Collins hadn’t been sufficiently trained in how to use the crane and slings properly. Furthermore, the equipment had not been properly maintained and should never have been used.”
Spectra Scaffolding, of Warth Road Industrial Estate, Bury, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £45,000 costs.