Southwark Crown Court heard that crane operator Jonathan Cloke, 37, died after falling from the crane as it collapsed. It fell onto Michael Alexa, 23, a member of the public, and also killed him.
The court heard how sections of the tower crane, which was on a housing development in Thessaly Road, Battersea, separated when 24 slew ring bolts failed due to metal fatigue. When the bolts failed the slew turret and jib separated from the mast and fell to the ground.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident, which happened way back in September 2006, found that Falcon Crane Hire Ltd had failed to investigate a similar incident that had happened just nine weeks before, when the bolts failed on the same crane and had to be replaced.
The HSE found that Falcon had an inadequate system to manage the inspection and maintenance of their fleet of cranes. Their process to investigate the underlying cause of components’ failings was also inadequate. It told the court the particular bolts were a safety critical part of the crane. The court also heard the bolts failing previously was an exceptional and significant occurrence, which should have been recognised by Falcon Crane Hire.
HSE head of operations Mike Wilcock said: “Jonathan and Michael’s deaths were tragic, needless and entirely avoidable. These two men need not have died had Falcon Crane Hire taken the right, decisive action when the bolts failed the first time. The company fell far short of its health and safety obligation.”
Falcon's £750,000 fine plus £100,000 costs represents approximately 6% of the company's 2015 turnover of £13.9m.