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Steel firm fined after Cherry Picker plunge

Feb 16, 2011

A man was left with multiple broken bones when the scissor lift he was working in was struck by an overhead crane and fell to the ground.

Steel erector Alexander Struthers, 36, was using a scissor lift - often called a cherry picker - to drill holes in the roof at a paint workshop at steel fabrication firm BHC Ltd in Carnwarth on 3 April 2008.

There was an overhead crane installed in the workshop to move steel around and Mr Struthers was working with his back towards it at the time of the incident. He did not hear the crane moving towards him as it hit the scissor lift basket he was in, knocking it five and a half metres to the ground.


As a result, Mr Struthers broke his hip, pelvis, thigh bone, knee, ankle and nose. He was in hospital for six days and endured a nine-hour operation to repair various bones.


[The firm] admitted failing to ensure the work at height was properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a reasonably practicable safe manner and was fined £20,000.


Following the case, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Inspector Eve Macready said:

"This completely avoidable incident has had an enormous impact on Mr Struthers' life. If [the company] had properly planned or supervised the work they would have recognised that the overhead crane was a hazard and stopped it being used while Mr Struthers and his colleagues were working on the roof. Duty holders have an obligation to ensure all work at height is properly planned and a proper risk assessment has taken place."


In 2009/10 38 workers in Britain died as a result of falls from height.


More information about Working at Heights courses


For full story: HSE Website


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