Companies fined after worker killed during lifting operation

Two North West companies have been fined following the death of a 37-year old worker, Andrew Bowes, in March 2012.

Mr Bowes, a metal fabricator employed by Larkin Engineering Services Ltd (LESL), died while working at the company’s premises in Barrow in Furness, Cumbria.  The company had contracted Cumbria Design Scaffolding Ltd (CDSL) to collect two large metal walkways and deliver them using a flatbed lorry fitted with a mounted crane.  Mr Bowes was asked to assist in the lifting operation.  The first walkway had been lifted onto the back of the lorry but was unsecured.  When the second walkway was lifted a sling became entangled in the first walkway, causing it to tip over and fall off the lorry and onto Mr Bowes who sustained fatal crush injuries.

An investigation by the HSE found that CDSL had failed to properly plan the lifting operation.  They did not identify the risks involved, did not have a safe system of work and then failed to supervise the lifting operation properly.  As a result, the lifting operation was poorly organised and controlled, which placed those in the immediate vicinity at significant risk.

CDSL pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Preston Crown Court and was ordered to pay a fine of £60,000 with costs of £27,464.

LESL pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at the same court hearing and was ordered to pay fines of £20,000 and costs of £27211.

Companies should always ensure that lifting operations are properly planned, organised and conducted safely.  Aegis can advise companies on the correct processes and procedures to follow with regard to lifting operations.