Wirral, UK-based Rossendale Group supplied Sheffield-based paper manufacturer Georgia Pacific GB Ltd with an EOT crane to lift reels of paper at its Oughtibridge Mill facility.

On 18 February, 2006, an anchorage point on the crane failed during a routine lifting operation, causing the crane to drop its combined weight of 1.8t from a height of 1.2m.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Alison Crank said the crane collapse narrowly missed the crane operator and, “it was extremely fortunate that no one was injured or even killed in this incident”. Rossendale Group was ordered to pay GBP10,000 in costs at Sheffield Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to breaching Section 6(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Section 6(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states that: “It shall be the duty of any person who designs, manufactures, imports or supplies any article for use at work or any article of fairground equipment to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the article is so designed and constructed that it will be safe and without risks to health at all times when it is being set, used, cleaned or maintained by a person at work”.

“Rossendale Group 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,” said Crank.

“Companies that supply lifting equipment must be aware that they will be held to account if the equipment is not well designed or manufactured.”