Last reviewed 27 January 2021

An unplanned lifting operation, loading a metal balcony base frame onto a flatbed trailer, led to a driver being fatally injured after the 400kg base fell onto the trailer and crushed him.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court was told that, on 4 April 2019, an employee of South East Galvanizers Limited had visited PCR Steel Ltd at their premises in Essex to collect a load.

The load was not secured and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation later found that the company had 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, the court was told. 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 pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and s.3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974.

It was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9900.

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, she concluded.