Injury Compensation News

Company Receives Fine for Deadly Crane Accident

October 30, 2014

A £90,000 fine has been issued to a company situated in Oldham after an employee died in a crane accident at his workplace. The company have also been ordered by the Manchester Crown Court to pay £35,000 in prosecution costs.

The tragic accident occurred on the 11th July 2011 when Michael Wickstead of Radcliffe, Greater Manchester was at work for Refinery Supplies Ltd., situated in Chadderton. The company manufactures specialist equipment for use in refining metals such as lead and zinc.

Mr Wickstead was involved in the manufacture of steel vessel that weighed three tonnes, which was being held in place by a crane overhead. A colleague of Mr Wickstead was moving a different container with a different crane when the two cranes collided. This caused the steel vessel that Mr Wickstead was working on to fall and crush him.

The injuries sustained by Mr Wickstead were substantial, and proved fatal. An inquiry conducted by the Health and Safety followed his death and investigated the events surrounding the incident. It was uncovered that Refinery Supplies Ltd. did not have any clear protocol laid out to prevent such injuries occurring from colliding cranes. Additionally, there was a lack of safety mechanisms, such as anti-collision devices, as a preventative measure for such crane collisions.

As Refinery Supplies Ltd. were in breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, they were prosecuted at the Manchester Crown Court. Company representatives have plead guilty for the charges brought against them. They were fined £90,000 and told to pay £35,000 in prosecution costs.

Helen Jones, a HSE inspector said that the failure of Refinery Supplies Ltd to adhere to minimum safety standards resulted in the distressing loss of Mr Wickstead’s life, which could have been avoided. She has also stressed how important it is for employers to consider the safety of each of their employees and prevent future tragedies. She said that the type of accident that claimed Mr Wickstead’s life had occurred on previous occasions, but without the fatal outcome because of the precautionary steps taken by the companies.

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