Falcon Cranes hearing scheduled more than eight years after disaster

Battersea crane collapse

A director of the hire firm at the centre of the Battersea Crane Disaster is due in court next week, more than eight years after the tragedy that left two men dead.

Falcon Crane Hire and director Douglas Genge face three charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act over the south London tower crane collapse that killed operator Jonathan Cloke and construction site neighbour Michael Alexa in September 2006.

A hearing is due to take place at Westminster Magistrates Court on February 25.

A 2012 inquest heard how an incorrect page inserted into a manual led machine-owner Falcon Cranes to load 12 tons of concrete to the back of the crane, rather than the eight tons the model actually required to counterbalance it.

The overloaded crane subsequently collapsed, killing Cloke who was thrown from the falling cab and Alexa who was struck by part of the crane as he cleaned his car in a nearby street.

Inquest jurors were instructed not to deliver a verdict that the victims had been unlawfully killed and a narrative verdict was made on events as they unfolded at the site.

The hearing had followed a five-year investigation by the Crown Prosecution Service, which resulted in the decision not to lay manslaughter charges.

Lilliana Alexa - mother of Michael and member of the Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group – told Building this week that it was “unacceptable” that it had taken more than eight years for a court hearing to result from the tragedy.

John McClean, national health and safety officer for the GMB union, questioned the government’s commitment to protecting workers after tower-crane registration regulations introduced after the tragedy were subsequently withdrawn as “red tape”.

The Notification of Conventional Tower Crane Regulations 2010 were introduced in the wake of the accicent, but scrapped in 2013 as part of the Löfstedt Review designed to streamline health and safety laws.