Poorly Planned Lifting Operation Leads to Death of Worker

Two companies have been fined after a worker died during a lifting operation involving a crane.

On 12th March 2012, Andrew Bowes was working for Larkin Eng Services Ltd as a metal fabricator on the company’s site in Furness. Larkin Eng Services Ltd had contracted Cumbria Design Scaffold Ltd to collect two large metal walkways and deliver them to a customer on their behalf, utilising a flatbed lorry with a mounted crane. Mr Bowes was assisting the lifting operation, as requested by his employer.

The first of the metal walkways had been lifted onto the back of the flatbed lorry, but had not been fastened down. As the mounted crane moved in order to pick up the second walkway, the sling became attached to the first, causing it to tip over and off the lorry. The walkway fell on top of Mr Bowes who suffered fatal crush injuries.

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident found that Cumbria Design Scaffold Ltd had failed to properly plan the lifting operation. They had failed to do a thorough risk assessment in order to highlight the potential risks to workers on site, and no safe system of work for a complex lift had been devised. The lifting operation was also found to be insufficiently supervised which the HSE felt led to the poor organisation and control of the operation, placing all workers involved at significant risk.

Mr Bowe’s employer, Larkin Eng Services Ltd, were found to have failed to ensure the safety of Mr Bowes, who had only been working for the company for one week and therefore was not experienced enough to be actively involved while the lifting operation was taking place.

HSE Inspector, Anthony Banks, commented “We would like to thank Andrew’s family for their patience throughout what has been a complex investigation. Companies should always ensure that lifting operations are properly planned, organised and conducted safely. Had this lifting operation been properly planned and supervised, then this tragedy could have been averted. HSE will take enforcement action against both clients and contractors who fail to meet the required standards.”

Cumbria Design Scaffold Lid pleaded guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, receiving a fine of £60,000, with further costs of £27,464.28. Larkin Eng Services Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, receiving a fine of £20,000, with further costs ordered of £27,211.09.

 

Source: SHP Online, Two companies fined following death of worker, 11th February 2019. Read the full article.

Events