A construction worker was crushed to death by a three-tonne steel container after the crane he was driving crashed into another being used by a colleague, a court has been told.
Michael Wickstead, 63, was helping to build the huge container, used to hold molten lead or zinc, at the Greengate Industrial Estate in Chadderton, Oldham.
He was carrying out the work for Refinery Supplies, which has been ordered to pay £125,000 in costs and fines after the accident at work, which took place in July 2011.
Firm had not implemented safety procedures
The prosecution follows an inquiry by the Health and Safety Executive that found the firm had not implemented safety procedures.
Manchester Crown Court was told on 24 October that Mr Wickstead, of Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, and a colleague had been using cranes to work on the containers.
But the cranes, which were attached to the same overhead rail, collided, knocking Mr Wickstead’s container off its stand and on to him.
Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Helen Jones said that low safety standards had led to Mr Wickstead being killed.
Similar accidents had happened before
She said Refinery Supplies well knew the risk of crane collisions and that similar incidents had taken place before.
The firm should have put into place safe working practices such as fitting anti-collision devices or planning out a safe method to avoid the apparatus coming into contact with each other, the court was told.
Refinery Supplies Ltd, of Greenside Way in Chadderton, was fined £90,000 and ordered to pay £35,000 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
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Date Published: October 29, 2014
Author: David Brown