Two access equipment firms have been fined a total of £240,000 after two men working on a construction site were involved in an incident that “could have ended in a double tragedy”.
Marcel Botnaru and Radu Baracu were working in a cradle at level nine of a residential tower under construction in London. The support beams for the cradle had been fitted with the wrong-sized end stops, which resulted in it rolling off the end and crashing to the ground below.
Botnaru suffered six broken ribs and a punctured lung, while Baracu was off work for six weeks. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said that both were extremely fortunate to escape more serious and potentially life-threatening injuries.
An HSE investigation found that Zarafa Height Solutions Ltd failed to ensure the support beams they manufactured were safe to use when they left its factory in Grantham.
A second company, Giraffe Access Company Ltd, which installed the cradle and support beams at the London Dock site, failed to identify that they were defective during safety checks before commissioning.
‘Fortunate to escape with their lives’
Both companies, of Hungate, Pickering, North Yorkshire, are part of the Zarafa Group and pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act.
Zarafa Height Solutions Ltd was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £3,987 costs. Giraffe Access Company Ltd was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £3,996 costs at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on 10 November.
HSE inspector Kevin Smith said the accident “could have ended in a double tragedy”.
“Both of these men suffered injuries but were fortunate to escape with their lives,” Smith said. “The fines imposed on these two companies should underline to everyone in the construction industry the importance of ensuring that rigorous safety checks are carried out on equipment before it is put to use.”
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