Driver killed by dropped load

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 4th April 2019, an employee of South East Galvanizers Limited had visited the premises of PCR Steel Ltd on the Star Industrial Estate in Grays, Essex, to collect a load.

PCR Steel used a telehandler forklift truck to load a metal balcony base frame onto a flatbed trailer. But the load was not secured and the 400kg balcony frame fell and crushed the 47-year-old visiting driver, who had been standing on the back of the trailer bed.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) 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. There was no plan for how the load would be set down, nor for how to exclude people from the danger zone.

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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.

HSE inspector Jill Mead said after the hearing: “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.”

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