Fine for crane firm after workers fall from platform

Lifting company Osprey has been fined £24,000 after two men fell from height during the assembly of a crane.

The accident happened at Port of Blyth, Northumberland, on 19 January 2021, when two employees of Osprey Heavy Lift fell as a result of a partial collapse of a platform on a crane.

workers fall from platform
The collapsed platform at the Port of Blyth (Image: HSE)

The platform was being installed using four lifting chains, each of which had a hook and safety clasp. The hooks were looped over metal lugs on the platform to lift it into position. The workers removed the two lifting chains nearest the crane structure and moved along the platform to attach the other side to the crane pendants.

At this point, the two remaining lifting chains came off the lugs and one side of the platform fell to the ground.

Despite both men using safety equipment, they fell from the platform. One fell about 4m to the ground below causing serious injuries, including fractures to ribs, right wrist and eye socket.

Failure to provide work-at-height instructions

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Osprey Heavy Lift Limited failed to properly plan the lift, resulting in the use of unsuitable lifting accessories.

Suitable anchor points for operatives using fall arrest equipment were not identified and there was no consideration of fall distances. In addition, there was a failure to provide appropriate instructions and information for work-at-height and lifting operations.

Osprey Heavy Lift Ltd of Portishead, Bristol, Somerset, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on 7 November. The company was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,136.

HSE inspector Clare Maltby said: “Companies who undertake crane assembly work must properly plan lifting activities and work at height, making certain the equipment selected is suitable for the task.

“All organisations undertaking lifting and work at height must ensure work is properly planned, and the correct equipment is selected. Workers should be provided with adequate health and safety information and instructions.”

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