The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted a company after an electrician died in a fall of approximately eight metres when an access panel on the raised walkway of an overhead crane gave way beneath him. Press release here.
An electrician was repairing wiring that had been causing a short circuit on the lifting equipment of a large overhead gantry crane. As he was walking along the crane’s walkway, an access panel gave way beneath his feet, causing him to fall through to the ground below. He sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at hospital.
What went wrong?
HSE investigation found the company had failed to maintain the crane walkway’s access panels, which had been used to replace lighting fittings some months earlier. Also, the panel itself had been subject to weld repair, and there was no evidence of any steps being taken to ensure that the panel was safely replaced into the void and secured to ensure it did not fail.
Speaking after the hearing, the HSE inspector said that workers “were at risk from serious injury whilst walking on a gantry 26 feet high, as the company had failed to assess the risk of these access platforms, which should be secured in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.”
The inspector noted that “This was an incident, which could easily have been prevented had the company considered the risks associated with such access panels not being secured in place following maintenance work and general wear and tear.”
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