Steel contractor found guilty of safety breach after overloaded crane overturned

Steel contractor Corus has been fined £100,000 after an operator suffered minor injuries when a mobile crane overturned.

Sheffield Crown Court heard that a worker had been using the crane to move two steel columns at Corus' Aldwarke steelworks near Rotherham when the incident occurred in September 2008.

The columns weighed more than the crane's maximum load capacity of 10 tonnes, but the lifting plant's safe working load alarm was switched off.

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive revealed that the crane had been fitted with a tipping alarm following concerns regarding its stability, but the driver had not been trained in how to use it.

When the crane became overloaded, no alarms sounded and it overturned.

Corus admitted breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act in that it failed to protect its employees, and was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay around £9,900 in costs.

Commenting, HSE inspector Geoff Clark described the company's safety measures as “simply inadequate”, and said there was “a substantial failure to provide enough suitable training.”

"This is a serious health and safety breach by a company that globally employs tens of thousands of people which could easily have led to people being killed,” he added. “The operator was extremely lucky to escape with only minor injuries.”