HSE prosecutes construction firm after worker is crushed to death

A construction firm has been prosecuted after a worker was killed when a load fell from a tower crane.

Urban Summit Construction Ltd was the Principal Contractor on a construction site at King Edward Quay in Colchester, where 780 student accommodation apartments were being built.

During a lifting operation using the site’s tower crane, a load become detached from the chains and landed on the Banksman who was in charge of the operation. David Holloway, 35, sustained extensive injuries and died on site.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Urban Summit Construction Ltd at Chelmsford Crown Court for the fatal incident which happened in January 2014, after an investigation found the company failed to ensure the lifting operation was carried out in a safe manner.

Urban Summit Construction Ltd, which is based in Ely, Cambridgeshire was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £29,127 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 8 (1)(c) of The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector David King said: “It is essential that lifting operations are carried out in a safe manner, to help ensure the lift is carried out without risk to those in the area. Lifting operations must be properly planned by a competent person, carried out by adequately trained persons, and with appropriate supervision.

“If this company had properly planned and supervised this work, this tragic incident could have been avoided.”

Lara Murray, an associate who specialises in employment and health & safety law, said: “Although historically, construction and engineering has been seen as a high risk sector, much has been done in recent years to improve workers’ safety, particularly with regard to safe plant and load movement.

“However, as this incident illustrates, a momentary failure to follow approved safety procedures can result in a needless fatality.

“Companies need to remember that health and safety regulations are in place to keep workers safe, which in turn leads to less down-time as a result of untoward incidents and ultimately greater productivity.”

For further information on Palmers employment and health and safety legal support, please contact us.