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Crane Safety Warning

HSE issue Warning following Fatal Lifting Accident

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a crane safety warning in connection with the dangers of allowing cranes to operate over the heads of employees.


The warning follows the prosecution of a Liverpool-based company after a man was killed and another seriously injured when they were struck by a load that fell from a crane.


The incident, which occurred on 8 March 2007, resulted in Keith Wharton, a welder aged 41 from Kirby, being killed instantly.


His colleague Christopher Cansfield, 31, from Bootle, sustained severe injuries including a broken neck and leg.


The court heard that a steel lifting frame weighing more than half a ton fell from an overhead crane.


There was no safety catch on the hook of the crane, which could have prevented the load from falling.


The HSE made the point that the company should not have allowed loads to be moved over people's heads and the crane operators had not been adequately trained in their safe use.

MRX Engineering Support Services Ltd, trading as Stackright Building Systems of Charleywood Road, Kirby, was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £16,941 in court costs at Liverpool Crown Court, having pleaded guilty to breaching s.2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 in failing to ensure the safety of employees.


Commenting on the case, HSE Inspector Iain Evans who investigated the incident said, "Keith Wharton should not have died. His was an avoidable, pointless and unnecessary death in an environment where there were numerous safety issues. If the company which employed him had dutifully exercised its responsibility to ensure his safety, his family would not be here at court today grieving their loss".