Crane injury results in fine for UK metal manufacturer

8 November 2013

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A metal manufacturer in Glossop, Derbyshire, UK, has appeared in court after an employee was injured when he was struck by a container as it swung from an overhead travelling crane, the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed earlier this month.

Firth Rixson Metals was prosecuted earlier this month, by the HSE, following the incident at its factory on Shepley Street on 23 June last year.

Buxton Magistrates' Court heard the worker, a 50-year-old local man who does want to be named, had been using an overhead travelling crane to lift an open-sided container carrying more than 50 long metal tubes.

As he lifted the 300kg container, the tubes slid out, which caused it to swing in the opposite direction. It struck the worker and broke his right leg in two places.

The HSE investigation found two plate clamps had been used in diagonally opposite corners of the stillage, which meant it became unstable when it was lifted.

The court was told the company should have found another way of moving the metal tubes using appropriate work equipment, so that workers were not put at risk. The fact that the stillage was open-sided meant that there was a high risk of the tubes sliding out when it was lifted.

Firth Rixson Metals was fined GBP 12,000 (USD 19,426) and ordered to pay prosecution costs of GBP 7,024 (USD 11,371) after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, Edward Walker, HSE Inspector said: "An employee at Firth Rixson suffered a serious injury to his leg, but it could easily have been a lot worse. The company failed to properly plan the lift, and regularly used a combination of work equipment that was not suitable.

"I hope this case will act as a warning to companies of the potential dangers of not planning work properly in advance, so that similar injuries can be prevented in the future."