Lifting company fined after workers fell from crane

A heavy-lifting company has been fined £24,000 after two of its workers fell from a crane platform.

On 19 January 2021, two men assembling a crane at the Port of Blyth, Northumberland, for Osprey Heavy Lift fell from height when the platform they were working on partially collapsed, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

According to a statement by the regulator, four lifting chains, each with a safety clasp and a hook looped over metal lugs, were being used to install the platform. The men removed two of the four lifting chains and moved along the platform to attach the other side to the crane pendants. One side of the platform then fell to the ground after the other two lifting chains came off their lugs.

Both men fell from the platform, despite using safety equipment, the HSE said. One of the men sustained fractures to his ribs, right wrist and eye socket after falling about four metres.

An investigation by the safety watchdog found that Osprey had not planned the lift properly, which meant it had not provided appropriate lifting accessories, and that the company had not identified suitable anchor points for workers using fall-arrest equipment, nor considered fall distances.

The HSE also found that Osprey had not provided appropriate instructions and information surrounding lifting operations and working at height.

HSE inspector Clare Maltby said: “Companies who undertake crane-assembly work must properly plan lifting activities and work at height, making certain the equipment selected is suitable for the task.”

Osprey Heavy Lift Ltd, based in Portishead, Bristol, pleaded guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on 7 November. The firm was ordered to pay £9,136 in costs in addition to the fine.

Maltby added: “All organisations undertaking lifting and work at height must ensure work is properly planned and the correct equipment is selected.

“Workers should be provided with adequate health and safety information and instructions.”

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