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Sun September 26 2021

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Bristol fatality highlights hot tub lifting dangers

14 Sep A crane owner-operator has been killed after being struck by a hot tub that he was delivering to a back garden in the Bristol area.

Avon & Somerset Police confirmed that a man in his 70s was killed after the crane tipped while manoeuvring a heavy load.

The Daily Mail named him as 73-year-old Michael Burcombe, owner of Burcombe Crane Hire in Coalpit Heath. He was delivering a hot tub to a house in nearby Mangotsfield.

Photos of the 19-year-old truck crane published in the national press clearly show the front tyres about a foot off the ground, evidently confirming reports that that the crane had tipped up at the front while placing its load over the rear with the telescopic boom extended.

A police spokeswoman said: “We were called at 9.26am today to assist the ambulance service at a residential address in Mangotsfield after a man was seriously injured when a crane tipped while manoeuvring a heavy load.

“Tragically, the man, in his 70s, was pronounced deceased at the scene. His next of kin have been informed and our thoughts go out to them. Police inquiries are ongoing at the scene in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive.”

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The Health & Safety Executive has confirmed that it is investigating the incident.

The dangers of lifting hot tubs over houses into back gardens are sufficiently well-known that in May this year the Construction Plant-hire Association published a technical guidance document. “Lifting incidents involving hot tubs are not uncommon and are centred around either a falling load or an overturn of the crane,” the CPA said at the time.

It said: “Although the principles and requirements of safe lift planning are well understood and implemented by crane owners, the specific factors relating to hot tubs may be less well known. For example, the pipework for new hot tubs are pressure tested during manufacturer and although drained afterwards for shipment, trapped residual water sometimes remains in the pipework which adds to the weight to be lifted. Furthermore, the weight of any covers can often add to the overall lift weight, not always identified on manufacturer’s data, and covers on some big swim spas can add a significant weight for which these and other accessories such as steps etc. should be lifted separately.”

The CPA’s Safe Lifting of Hot Tubs can be downloaded for free here.

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