Firm fined £8,000 as 60-tonne crane falls
A COMPANY has been fined £8,000 after a 60-tonne crane overturned on a Merseyside building site and crushed an electricity substation.
Magistrates imposed the fine after hearing the crash, at the former Champion Spark Plug premises in Upton, could have been fatal and left a nearby brook contaminated.
Safety chiefs said they hoped the prosecution of Flintshire-based Cheshire Crane Hire Ltd would act as a wake-up call to other firms.
Wirral magistrates heard the overloaded crane was parked on a tarmac surface on March 29 last year, but its outriggers were positioned on soft ground.
It overturned while attempting to lift a 23-metre steel chimney stack from the outside wall of a brick-clad machinery room that was about to be refurbished.
The stack fell next to the boom of the crane, while the cab crushed an adjacent electricity sub station.
Over days, the crane’s diesel and hydraulic tanks leaked, contaminating the nearby brook.
Health and Safety Executive inspector Neil Jamieson said: “The company’s managing director Frank Preston estimated the weight of the tower at about six tonnes, but its actual weight was more than double that figure.”
The company was also ordered to pay £8,842 costs by magistrates after pleading guilty to failing to ensure the safety of its employee under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Today Mr Preston put the incident down to “an unfortunate accident” and added: “We always put safety first.”
He said the incident was the first significant accident in the company’s 30-year History