Worker hit by crane, firm in court

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A metal finishing company has been fined after a worker was seriously injured.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that an employee of Leeds Galvanising & Powder Coating Hire Ltd broke two ribs, fractured his pelvis and punctured a lung after the incident in March 2014 at the city’s Albion Business Park.

The injured man was one of three workers in the fettling area of the site. One employee was operating a pendant controlled semi-goliath overhead crane and he began to lower a loaded jig to the ground.

As the metal products made contact with the floor in the vertical position it lifted the left end of the jig off the hook. The hook had not been provided with a safety catch. The end of the jig came free and swung down hitting one of the other employees.

Sustaining serious injuries, he was off work for nine months and had to undergo six months of physiotherapy.

The court also heard HSE investigated a similar incident at the same site 14 September 2011, following which the company was told to re-instate the safety catches on a semi-goliath overhead crane.

Since the 2011 incident, the use of safety catches lapsed. The company admitted to not providing safety catches for the lifting hooks on the crane involved in the 2014 incident.

Leeds Galvanising & Powder Coating Ltd, of Albion Works, Albion Business Park, Armley Road, Leeds, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £13,000, with full costs.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Kate Dixon said:

“Lifting operations can put workers at serious risk of injury if they’re not carried out properly, as well as incurring significant costs when they go wrong. It is therefore important to provide suitable equipment for the task, and properly plan lifting operations before work commences to ensure it is done safely.

“In this case the accident was easily preventable. By failing to provide lifting equipment with working safety catches, a worker suffered serious injuries and other employees were also put at risk.”