Worker killed after steel balcony falls from forklift

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A steel fabrication firm has been fined after a large steel balcony was being lifted by a fork lift telehandler, the company has been fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,900.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard how on 4 April 2019, an employee of South East Galvanizers Limited had visited PCR Steel Ltd at their premises in Star Industrial Estate, Essex to collect a load. He was performing an unplanned lifting operation, loading a metal balcony base frame onto a flatbed trailer, when the incident occurred. The load was not secured and the balcony frame weighing approximately 400kg fell and crushed the 47-year-old man, who had been standing on the back of the trailer bed.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to ensure that the lifting operation was properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised, and carried out in a safe manner. There was no lift plan for the manoeuvring of balcony frames that could have considered the load’s security, size and weight. There was no plan for how the load would be set down, nor for how to exclude people from the danger zone.

PCR Steel Ltd of Star Industrial Estate, St Johns Road Grays, Essex pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,900.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Jill Mead said: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the host company to implement safe systems of work. Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.”