Earlier this week, a crane manufacturer and supplier was fined £10,000 after an electric overhead moving crane dropped a load, narrowly avoiding the crane operator.
The company had supplied Sheffield-based paper manufacturer Georgia Pacific GB Limited, of Oughtibridge Mill, with the crane to lift reels of paper. On 18 February 2006, during a routine lifting operation, an anchorage point on the crane failed, causing the crane to drop its combined weight of 1.8 tonnes from a height of approximately 1.2 metres.
Rossendale Group Limited, of Portside North, Merseyton Road, Ellesmere Port in Wirral, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 6(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was also ordered to pay £10,000 costs at Sheffield Magistrates Court.
After the hearing HSE Inspector Alison Crank said, “It was extremely fortunate that no one was injured or even killed in this incident. Had the load fallen moments earlier it would have fallen into the path of the crane operator.
“Rossendale Group Limited should have ensured the safety critical anchorage points on the crane had been designed for the typical loading conditions that the crane would experience during routine use.
“Companies that supply lifting equipment must be aware that they will be held to account if the equipment is not well designed or manufactured.”