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Mismanaged lift lands hire firm with £220k fine

7 Dec 20 A plant hire company has been fined £220,000 after an apprentice was nearly crushed by a toppling mobile crane.

During proceedings at Knights Chamber, Nightingale Court, in Peterborough it was heard that on 3rd August 2016, an apprentice at M&J Engineers Limited had climbed on to the roof of a site hut to attach a power float to the chains of a mobile crane. The crane operator began to extend the boom and move the crane into position. But the crane had not been set up correctly and the boom of the crane toppled over towards the apprentice.

The apprentice jumped out of the way of the boom, avoiding a potentially fatal incident, but his fall from height caused injuries to his leg and back.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company did not have a safe system of work in place and the crane operator had not been adequately trained. There was no clear instruction concerning the use of the crane or in which areas the crane was prohibited from operating. They also had no way of ensuring that the apprentice was suitably managed.

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M&J Engineers of Cashel Works, Cadwell Lane, Hitchin, Hertfordshire was found guilty of breaching Section 2(1) Health and safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £220,000 and ordered to pay costs of £65,443.72.

M & J Engineers Ltd, trading as M & J Hire Centres, is a member of the Abbey plc Group of companies.

 HSE inspector Nigel Fitzhugh said after the hearing: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to provide adequate training to their employees so that they can operate equipment safely and devise safe methods of working. This includes providing the appropriate information, instruction and training to their workers.”

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