An engineering firm in Gateshead has been fined £40,000 after safety breaches caused an 18-tonne load to strike an employee on the head.
Kevin Tait suffered “life-changing” injuries while working, when the equipment he was using caused the heavy load to swing and hit him.
The crane was not suitable for the lift as the load exceeded its maximum weight, Gateshead Magistrates’ Court heard.
Mr Tait was using a 27-tonne crane to lift a heavy steel roll when the shortening clutches sheared under the weight of the excessive load. He was left unconscious by the incident that took place at H E Realisations Ltd in Blaydon-on-Tyne in February 2015.
The father of one suffered a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain and a smashed eye socket when the overhead crane hit him.
He was rushed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle where surgeons immediately worked to save his life.
Mr Tait went on to spend three weeks in intensive care, four weeks on a ward and an additional five weeks in rehabilitation at Walkergate Hospital.
Speaking to The Chronicle, Kevin’s wife Debbie said she still can’t believe her husband has survived the ordeal.
“I call him my miracle man,” she told the paper. “Our lives have totally changed but he’s here and that’s all that matters.”
A warning for all
HSE inspector Laura Catterall said after the hearing: “Lifting operations are hazardous and require a competent person to properly plan and supervise them to ensure that suitable and properly maintained equipment is used in the right configuration to avoid exceeding safe working loads.
“Kevin is incredibly lucky that he was not killed in this incident and he has suffered permanent life-changing injuries as a result. This workplace accident has changed the lives of Kevin and his family irrevocably.”
Now in liquidation, H E Realisations Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Reg 8(1) of the Lifting Operation and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.
Source: The Chronicle
Date Published: February 11, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown