HSE calls for more checks on lifting components after faulty pin led to site death

The Health and Safety Executive has issued a warning on the use of lifting equipment following an investigation into the death of a worker.

The warning follows an investigation into the death of Sam Bell, 23, at a Hertfordshire construction site in 2002. Bell was fatally injured when a concrete beam that fell from a mobile crane struck him, and a HSE forensic examination has now established that a pin in the lifting equipment had fractured in two places.

The HSE has now advised that where lifting components are not visible, a competent person responsible for examining the equipment should carefully consider when such components should be removed for examination or routinely replaced. Lifting equipment manufacturers and suppliers should provide information on this subject.

Dave Rothery, HSE head of operations in the HSE’s construction division for London, the east and the south east, said: “The fundamental cause of the incident was the failure of the pin, which was defective….However, the investigation findings raise a wider issue for consideration by those undertaking routine examination of lifting tackle.”

The HSE’s enquiries found that the South African-based manufacturer and supplier company involved in the incident was no longer trading, and therefore, legal proceedings will not be possible.