HSE issues warning on mobile cranes after accident involving 35-tonne crane in Warrington

The Health and Safety Executive has issued a warning on mobile crane operations, following the prosecution of two construction companies.

The body said operations must be “properly planned and supervised” after a 35-tonne crane overturned in Great Sankey, Warrington, last year.

Contractor AMEC Group of Northwich and crane operator Leach Structural Steelwork of Preston were each fined £10,000 for their role in the accident at the site of a new fire control centre.

The crane driver was forced to leap to safety and the 5.7 tonne beam that was being lifted narrowly missed two employees as it fell after one of the outriggers that support the crane sank into the ground, the HSE said.

HSE inspector Nic Rigby said: “This prosecution should act a warning to all those involved in crane operations. It was down to chance alone that this incident did not result in multiple fatalities. This would have been avoided had the planning and supervision of the lifting operation not been so deficient.

“The crane overturned because it was being operated, with the knowledge of both companies, in a part of the site that had not been prepared for such activities. The roadway was not wide enough to accommodate the outrigger spread of the crane.”

Each firm was ordered to pay £9,143 in costs, in addition to the fine, at Warrington Magistrates Court.