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Worker fatally injured

Posted: Monday 25th, March 2013

Steel beam falls and fatally injures worker
Date: 13 January 2012
Release No: COISE/1301B

A specialist crane supplier has been fined £180,000 after a worker was killed when a large steel beam fell on him at an incinerator in Slough, Berkshire.

Colin Dickson, 38, of Motherwell, Lanarkshire, died when the temporary suspension points on a suspended beam he was under failed at the Lakeside Energy from Waste installation in Colnbrook.

The 1.4 tonne beam fell five metres onto Mr Dickson causing fatal injuries to his chest, and fractures to his legs and back.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Mr Dickson's employers J H Carruthers Ltd and one of its supervisors, John Hamilton, after an investigation into how the lifting operation failed.

Reading Crown Court heard on 29 August 2007, a team of five people were installing two cranes in the hall of a new incinerator building. They were lifting two steel beams to a height of approximately 18 metres, which then had to be welded to the underside of the roof beams that were fixed to the rafters.

The HSE investigation found that the lifting operation could have been successful if the whole process had been planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner from the outset.

HSE's Inspector Karen Morris said:

"This tragic incident shows the importance of carrying out a thorough assessment of hazards and properly managing all lifting operations. This was a complex and unusual lift which went drastically wrong due to a lack of competent planning and a failure to supervise and carry out the task safely. The risks involved in such lifting operations should not be underestimated.

"Health and safety law places stringent requirements on employers in these circumstances, for very good reason. This incident was entirely preventable and it should act as a reminder to others that standards need to be maintained to ensure the safety of workers at all times."

J H Carruthers Ltd (formerly Konecranes (UK) Ltd), of Peel Park Place, College Milton, East Kilbride, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The firm was fined £180,000 and ordered to pay costs of £74,000.

Mr John Hamilton, of Orchard Gardens, Strathaven, Lanarkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. He was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £400.

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