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A national crane hire company has been fined by the HSE for failings which led to the deaths of two men when a crane collapsed on a housing development in London.

Southwark Crown Court heard that sections of the tower crane separated and the crane subsequently collapsed after bolts that were supposed to hold the structure together disintegrated due to metal fatigue. This caused the top of the crane to crash to the ground killing the operator and a passer-by onto whom the crane fell.

The bolts were a significant safety feature on the crane’s slew ring, which allows the arm of the crane to rotate through 360 degrees. When the bolts failed the top of the crane separated from the mast and fell to the ground. The Health and Safety Executive’s investigation into the incident uncovered the fact that in 2006 the crane company had failed to investigate a similar incident where bolts on the same crane had to be replaced. The HSE found that the company had an inadequate system for managing the inspection and maintenance of their fleet of cranes. Their process to investigate the underlying causes of the components’ failings was also inadequate. It told the court that the particular bolts were a safety critical part of the crane. The court also heard that the bolts failing previously were an exceptional and significant occurrence that should have been recognised by the company.

Mike Wilcock, head of operations for the HSE said: “Jonathan and Michael’s deaths were tragic, needless and entirely avoidable. These two men need not have died had Falcon Crane Hire taken the right decisive action when the bolts failed the first time. The company fell far short of its health and safety obligation.”

Many companies operate machinery that has the capacity to cause death or serious injury if it is not used properly or sufficiently maintained. The case above illustrates the costs that can be involved when things go wrong; it is a lot less expensive in the long run to ensure that maintenance and training are fully up to date and operated under a system that can be checked at all stages.

If you have been injured at work and it was not your fault you might be eligible to claim for compensation. Our solicitors have years of experience in handling these kinds of cases and it costs nothing to talk through your case with them. Contact us today to see if we can help you get the compensation you deserve.