Steel company fined after worker fatally injured by 400kg balcony frame

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A steel company has been fined £50,000 after a worker was fatally crushed by a 400kg metal balcony frame

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard how on 4 April 2019, an employee of South East Galvanizers Limited had visited PCR Steel Ltd at their premises in Star Industrial Estate, Essex to collect a load. The worker was performing an unplanned lifting operation, loading a metal balcony base frame onto a flatbed trailer, when the incident occurred. The load was not secured and the balcony frame weighing approximately 400kg fell and crushed the 47-year-old man, who had been standing on the back of the trailer bed.

HSE investigation

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed the company 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, or for how to exclude people from the danger zone.

PCR Steel Ltd 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.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Jill Mead, said: “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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