for the month of March, 2015
Company sentenced for Tower Bridge lift fall
A lift company has been ordered to pay £100,000 in fines and costs after terrified tourists were left with broken legs and ankles when a Tower Bridge lift fell several metres into a service pit because a vital mechanism failed.
Four people sustained bone fractures in the incident at the popular London landmark on 11 May 2009. A further six were treated for shock as walking wounded.
The lift car they were travelling in was ascending to the Tower Bridge Exhibition when it suddenly fell down the shaft from a distance of approximately three metres.
The company responsible for maintaining and servicing the lift, Temple Lifts Ltd, was sentenced today (6 March) following a complex technical investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), supported by the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL). It identified failures linked to the maintenance of two refurbished lifts at Tower Bridge.
Southwark Crown Court heard that ten people, including one agency worker serving as a lift operator, were in the lift when it fell. The other passengers, all tourists, included an elderly couple and a young family.
The car ended up in a pit below the ground floor lift entrance after a counterweight mechanism failed.
The HSE investigation revealed that there had been a number of historic component failures in the counterweight mechanism on two separate lifts at the attraction prior to the catastrophic failure. However, these components had simply been replaced without a proper review and investigation as to why they were failing early.
HSE concluded that the uncontrolled fall could have been avoided had more in-depth analysis occurred, and that the fact this had not happened was indicative of wider failings.
Temple Lifts Ltd, of Baring Lane, London, SE12, was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 in costs after pleading guilty to two charges covered by Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
After sentencing HSE Inspector Michael La Rose said:
“This was a truly disturbing incident that affected a number of people and that could have resulted in even greater injuries.
“It is vital that lifts are properly maintained, and that urgent action is taken if any possible issues or concerns are identified. There were warning signs here that were seemingly overlooked, and missed opportunities to properly rectify recurring faults.
Steve Naldrett, director of Ardan Training says "It is vital that all the correct procedures are in place to ensure safety of those using them. the negligence of the workers is quite worrying"
Kent firm in court after employee severs toes
d to deliver. Both had a 12mm depth whereas instructions for the magnet stated that anything less than 20mm should not have been lifted and the maximum weight was 400kg.
G&P Machine Shop Ltd of Argent Road, Queensborough, Sheerness, Kent, was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,036 after admitting a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Rob Hassell said:
“Anton Hunter, a young engineer, had his life put on hold after suffering a debilitating injury that may impair his ability to walk for the foreseeable future.
“The incident could have been prevented if G&P Machine Shop had carried out suitable checks to ensure the lift was within the operating capacities of the magnet. Instead, it seems that in an attempt to improve deliveries, an entirely inappropriate piece of lifting equipment was chosen.
“Companies should ensure the equipment they want to use is fit for its intended purpose. Manuals for lifting devices are available to download or direct from the makers. The safe working load (SWL) of lifting equipment is a maximum capacity in optimum conditions – any deviation needs to be investigated and tested.”
Steve Naldrett, director of Ardan Training says "It is the employers job to ensure that employees should have the correct equipment to move large objects"
Construction firms prosecuted after worker crushed by falling conveyor
Three construction companies have been fined after a worker was crushed by a falling section of conveyor at a plant in Sleaford.
The incident happened during construction of the Sleaford Renewable Energy plant on Boston Road on 14 February 2013 when the 4.5 tonne conveyor section overturned during installation.
It trapped Michael Doyle, a 49-year-old employee of Derby-based Shaw Group UK Ltd, who suffered multiple injuries including four cracked vertebrae, broken ribs, a punctured lung and broken ankle. He has not returned to work since.
Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday (12 March) that Shaw Group UK Ltd had been subcontracted to install a boiler and associated equipment , including a conveyor system to carry large straw bales, by Burmeister and Wain Energy (BWE).
BWE was one of two Danish companies, the other being Burmeister and Wain Scandinavian Contractor (BWSC), that had formed a consortium to design and build the centre, which burns straw and wood to create electricity and also to provide heat for some local authority buildings.
Shaw Group UK Ltd had already lifted three conveyor sections on to a slope leading up to the boiler by craning them on to a platform at the bottom of the slope. Skates were bolted to the front and rear legs which helped keep the section of conveyor on rails as it was dragged up the slope by manual winches set up at the top.
In order to fix the sections of conveyor in place workers needed to remove the skates and used jacks to raise the legs enough to take the skates off and then lower the legs down onto the rail.
This was carried out successfully on the first three sections but as the jacks were released, on the lower legs of the fourth and final section, one side lowered faster than the other and the conveyor swung towards two workers before violently swinging the other way and turning on its side, trapping Mr Doyle, from Fleetwood, Lancashire, underneath.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation identified safety failings by all three companies.
Shaw Group UK Ltd had produced a risk assessment and a plan for the installation but it did not consider removal of the skates from the legs of the conveyor sections or the manual winching of the load up the slope. The document had been sent to BWE for checking but the company did not pick up on the omission.
The lifting operation using jacks was not carried out safely and none of the three defendants was managing or monitoring the work in a way that would ensure its safety.
The investigation also found that BWSC failed in its responsibility as principal contractor to ensure work was properly assessed and co-ordinated between the many contractors on site.
Shaw Group UK Ltd, of Stores Road, Derby, was fined a total of £17,350 and ordered to pay costs of £1,710 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999; Regulation 8(1)(c) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998; and Regulation 13(2) of the Construction (Design and Management ) Regulations 2007.
Burmeister and Wain Scandinavian Contractor, of Gydevang 35, PO Box 235, DK3450, Allerød, Denmark, was fined £4,670 and ordered to pay costs of £1,710 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Burmeister and Wain Energy, of Luntoftegardsvej 93A, DK 800 Kgs Lyngby, Denmark, was fined £5,350 and ordered to pay costs of £1,710 after admitting a breach of Regulation 13(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Martin Giles said:
“This was a large site with multiple contractors and up to 300 people working at any one time. Although there was a series of site rules set out in a construction phase plan, BWSC’s management of the site was poor as each of the main contractors ran their own areas of the site as they desired and were able to set additional rules. This led to different procedures being followed and a lack of control over temporary works.
“The failure to ensure work was carried out safely on the slope was symptomatic of more general failures which were the responsibility of principal contractor BWSC in setting the rules, procedures and checks needed to manage a large site. These failures put all the workers on site at risk.
“BWE specified the use of skates for installing the conveyor system but removing them required adequate risk assessment. Although the company had read the assessment and method statement produced by Shaw Group it made no comment on it and did not approve it before it was implemented. BWE should have picked up on that document’s failures and asked Shaw Group to re-evaluate before work was allowed to begin.
“Shaw Group UK Ltd’s risk assessment was flawed, and its management and monitoring of the task was not sufficient to identify potential problems and stop the work in the four days before Mr Doyle was hurt. The actual method of work followed by its employees was unsafe and led to Mr Doyle’s injuries when the load overturned.”
Steve Naldrett, Director of Ardan Training says "This shows the lack of enforcement of the health and safety regulations, this could of easily been prevented with a bit of care"
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