UK Boatyard Paying $12K in Crane Overturn Case

HSE proved the mobile crane that toppled, crushing an empty car, had been poorly maintained.

An Isle of Wight boatyard, Harold Hayles (Yarmouth I.W.) Limited, was fined about $6,000 and ordered to pay an equal amount in costs after pleading guilty March 28 to two violations of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and single violations of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, the Health and Safety Executive announced.

The case involved a mobile crane that overturned Nov. 1, 2011, at the yard. The falling boom crushed a car; fortunately, no one was inside it and no one was injured.

The crane toppled when the operator retracted the outriggers while the jib was still extended. (HSE photo)The operator of the 38-ton crane was lifting a yacht into a cradle for the winter months when the controls locked up during the de-rigging phase of the operation. He retracted the outriggers in order to physically move and free the controls, and the crane toppled because the jib was still extended. HSE's investigators found the controls were prone to locking up and the crane was overdue for an annual examination and testing. (All lifting equipment is required by law to undergo a thorough yearly exam, but the crane was not tested as scheduled three weeks before the incident because of a mechanical failure when an engineer visited the yard, according to the agency.)

The company also did not provide a suitable lifting plan for the yacht operation. "This was a serious incident that could have ended in tragedy had the crane toppled onto a person and not an empty car. It was wholly preventable and could have been avoided had the crane been better maintained and had the lifting operation been better planned and managed," HSE Inspector John Caboche said. "Harold Hayles was fully aware of the dangers and HSE publishes extensive guidance that is readily-available of how to safely manage this type of work."

Information on how to properly manage lifting operations can be found on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/planning-organising-lifting-operations.htm.

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