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  • 11 Jan 2017
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Plant hire boss jailed after boom lift death

A plant hire boss has been jailed for two years after a worker was killed when his boom lift collapsed.

Safety net rigger Gary Currie and his colleague Alexander Nisbet were in the basket of the platform removing netting from the facade of the Buchanan House office block in Glasgow when the third main boom section buckled, causing the platform’s basket to fall 28 metres.

Nisbet was seriously injured and Currie suffered fatal injuries.

After a 16-day trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court, Craig Services manager Donald Craig was found guilty of a breach of health and safety legislation and sentenced to the maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.

Craig Services & Access, based in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, was also found guilty of three charges relating to the collapse of a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) and maintenance failures. The company was fined a total of £61,000.

Another firm, J M Access Solutions, was also fined £30,000 for its failure to carry out a detailed and thorough examination of the platform and its safety-critical parts.

The tragedy followed an earlier platform incident in May 2011, after which Craig Services & Access had instructed a repair to the damaged section of the main boom.

The repair had been incorrectly carried out and J M Access Solutions failed in its duty to carry out an adequate thorough examination of the platform.

Gary Aitken, head of health and safety division at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said: “This incident, which resulted in the death of Gary Currie and caused serious injury to Alexander Nisbet, could have been avoided had Donald Craig and Craig Services & Access Limited heeded advice and taken measures to maintain the platform in a safe condition.

“At the centre of this all was the decision to instruct this repair. It was a decision that left Gary Currie and Alexander Nisbet exposed to an unacceptable risk and was essentially an accident waiting to happen.

“A MEWP is a safety critical piece of equipment and it was highly foreseeable that such a repair would risk the lives of those using the equipment.

“Hopefully this prosecution will remind other employers that failure to fulfil their obligations can have tragic consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings.”

HSE principal inspector Graeme McMinn said: “The death of Gary Currie was entirely preventable.

“Craig Services & Access and Donald Craig were advised by the manufacturer to replace the damaged boom. Instead, they chose a much cheaper repair that left the boom in an unsafe condition.

“Guidance in the British Standard ‘Safe Use of MEWPs’ advises that repairs to any parts of the MEWP structure should be in accordance with the procedure specified by the manufacturer.

“At the time of the accident the MEWP had a catalogue of defects, some of which were safety critical demonstrating that Craig Services & Access did not have an adequate proactive maintenance and reactive repair system in place within the company.”

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