Man crushed under one and a half tonnes of scaffolding will never walk again

A scaffolding firm has been ordered by the Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court to pay out £85,000 after it found that poor planning and supervision led to a man being crushed under metal tubes, leaving him without the use of his legs.

David Collins, a 31-year-old father of two who worked for Bury firm Spectra Scaffolding, suffered severe injuries to his head, back and leg after the incident on 7 November 2008 and is now paraplegic.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Spectra Scaffolding following the incident at Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent, where refurbishment to retail premises was being undertaken.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard how Collins was unloading 21ft long scaffolding tubes from the back of a truck using a vehicle-mounted crane when one of the slings holding the tubes detached from the crane hook leaving the tubes to fall on him.

As he stood under the load operating the crane controls, one of the lifting slings detached from the crane hook, causing the metal tubes, which weighed nearly one and a half tonnes, to fall onto him, the court heard.

An HSE investigation into the incident found Collins had not been properly trained or supervised and Spectra Scaffolding had failed to plan the work adequately.

The court also heard that the catch on the crane’s hook had been faulty for some time and had not been fixed.

HSE inspector Lindsay Hope said: “Companies that operate lorry-mounted cranes must ensure their operators undertake appropriate, recognised training in all aspects. Operators of lorry-mounted cranes must be competent to use the equipment properly and plan safe lifting in variable site conditions.”

The scaffolding firm pleaded guilty to breaching the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £45,000.