Court fines two companies after one man was killed and three injured when using an access cradle

Two firms involved in a fatal accident in Sheffield which killed one man and injured three others have been fined a total of £140,000.

The accident happened when an access cradle suspended from the exterior of a Sheffield office building partially collapsed in July 2003.

Apollo Cradles of Barnsley was found guilty of breaching health and safety law last month in Sheffield Crown Court and was today fined £115,000 plus £45,000 costs. Bradway Construction Ltd earlier pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety law and today was fined £25,000 plus £18,000 costs.

Four men, all employees of Bradway Construction Ltd, were using a suspended access cradle provided by Apollo Cradles Ltd to work on the maintenance and painting of an office building in Vicar Lane, Sheffield on 3 July 2003, when the cradle failed causing them to fall from a height of 10m. As a result one man died and his three colleagues were injured.

The HSE is now warning construction firms to properly maintain equipment and plant and ensure the proper training standards are in place.

This is a tragic case involving four men who had never worked in a suspended access cradle before

Dave Redman, HSE principal inspector

HSE principal inspector Dave Redman said: “This is a tragic case involving four men who had never worked in a suspended access cradle before. The incident could have been avoided had Apollo Cradles Ltd ensured that the equipment it was providing was safe and fit for use.

"By failing to operate an effective maintenance regime and to properly examine the condition of the cradle, they betrayed the trust of workers whose lives depended on them.

“Added to this, the workers were required by their employers, Bradway Construction Ltd, to carry out painting and maintenance at height in a cradle without any training or instruction as to its safe use.

"This is unacceptable in this day and age – all workers have a right to expect to be trained on how to use the equipment they are working with, and there is plenty of advice and guidance available to employers in the construction industry to help them meet their legal obligations.”