A Bletchley company has been fined £32,000 after an employee broke his back when he was struck by a steel plate which fell from a crane.
Luton Magistrates’ Court heard how the worker suffered the injury while carrying out work on a new metal staircase under construction for Tubular Erectors Ltd - a structural steelwork installation company based at Sinclair Court, Bletchley.
The task involved using a crane to lift a steel sheet attached to a magnet, but the sheet became detached from the magnet and fell, striking the injured person on the back. The worker fractured his spine and has been unable to continue working as a steel fixer.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which took place on December 10, 2015 at the University of Bedfordshire, Luton Campus, found the company failed to ensure that the lifting equipment was of adequate strength and stability for each load.
While the safe working load was 1000kg the magnet had to be de-rated to take into account the thinness and the length of the metal being lifted. The company also failed to ensure that the lifting operation was planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner.
Tubular Erectors Ltd, a structural steelwork installation company based at Sinclair Court, Bletchley, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 4 and 8 (1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. The company has been fined £32,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,444.80 and a victim surcharge of £120.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Samantha Wells, said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply implementing the correct control measures and safe working practices.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”