A crane firm has been fined after a hook broke, causing a heavy load to fall on a college

London Tower Crane Hire & Sales Ltd has been fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of nearly £16,000 after it dropped a four tonne load 36 metres on a college campus.

The load, which was part of a building under construction on 3 November 2007 at Hertford Regional College in Turnford, near Cheshunt, came down heavily beside part of the campus regularly used by students after a hook broke.

The impact demolished the site boundary fence and damaged a college building.

London Tower Crane Hire & Sales Limited, the company which owned and operated the crane, appeared at Hertford Magistrates’ Court today and admitted breaching health and safety laws in a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive.

The company, which has a head office at Elstree Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £15,837.45 in costs.

HSE Inspector Norman Macritchie said: “It was a matter of good fortune that no-one was injured in this entirely avoidable incident. Those undertaking lifting operations have absolute duties to plan, supervise and carry them out safely. Maintenance staff had indentified safety-critical faults in the crane yet simple controls needed to prevent use of defective equipment were not implemented. Poor communication and teamwork, together with inadequate supervision, all contributed to this incident.”