8 Feb 2010

£20k fine for company over cherry picker collapse

The following case shows that it is not always the equipment itself which needs inscpecting to prevent accidents from happening; Environmental conditions can also play a major role in accidents at work and is included on the safety checklist from Good to Go Safety - stating the need to check for ground conditions, overhead cables and wind/weather conditions. Although not technically an inspection of the MEWP, we consider this an extension of your duties when carrying out your pre-use inspections. If the driver of the cherry picker had carried out his pre-use check and taken the time to check the ground conditions this accident could have been avoided. You can find more details about Good to Go Safety systems in our new digital catalogue, simply click on the link below.
Firm fined over cherry picker crash
A York-based construction company has today been fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £6,900 costs after one of its mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) overturned, seriously injuring a worker and putting the public at risk.

Shepherd Construction Limited of Jockey Lane, Huntington, York, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for its role in the incident at the Trinity Square construction site in central Nottingham.

The court heard how on 30 August 2007 a contractor on the site drove a cherry picker over a concealed man hole cover.

The cover gave way under the weight of the machine and the cherry picker toppled over, leaving its driver with serious injuries to his skull, back and legs.

The long reaching arm of the machine crashed to the ground, landing in a busy area that had been occupied by pedestrians and vehicles only seconds before. Following the incident, Milton Street in central Nottingham was blocked off for almost six hours.

HSE Inspector Martin Giles said:

"This was a very dangerous incident, in an area which was bustling with pedestrians and vehicles. It could so easily have led to people being killed and has left a worker with serious injuries.

"The company failed to put in place adequate measures to find and record where the man holes and service covers were around the site and failed to take steps to protect them or prevent vehicles from driving over them.

"Operators of mobile elevating work platforms, such as scissor lifts and cherry pickers, must be warned about man hole covers and underground services because there is a real risk of them collapsing and heavy vehicles toppling over.

"When people's lives are at risk it is absolutely inexcusable to leave this to chance."

Transcript Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2010/coi-em-15810.htm
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence).

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