Heavy fine for firm after man broke his spine

Bedfordshire University. PNL-150729-163737001
Bedfordshire University. PNL-150729-163737001

A structural steelwork installation company has been fined after an employee fractured his spine when he was struck by a steel plate which fell from a crane while working at the University of Bedfordshire.

Luton Magistrates’ Court heard how the man suffered a back injury while carrying out work on a new metal staircase. The task involved using a crane to lift a steel sheet attached to a magnet, but the sheet became detached and fell, striking the injured person on the back. The worker has been unable to continue working as a steel fixer.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident on 10 December 2015 at the Luton Campus, found the company failed to ensure that the lifting equipment was of adequate strength and stability for each load. Whilst 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 Limited of 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 £3444.80 and a victim surcharge of £120.00

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”.