A UK based crane company has received a corporate manslaughter conviction over the death of a crane driver in the area of Lancashire. The company responsible, Baldwins Crane Hire Limited was charged with corporate manslaughter after a worker, Lindsay Easton was killed on 15th August 2011.
The company was carrying out work on wind turbines in the area when the accident took place. The court heard that Mr Easton was operating a heavy crane down a steep road away from a Wind Farm at Scout Moor, Lancashire when the crane’s brakes failed causing it to crash into an embankment and fall from the road.
Specialist prosecutor in the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division of the CPS, Jane Wragg, explained:
“I have carefully reviewed the evidence gathered by Lancashire Police and the Health and Safety Executive during their investigation into the tragic death of Lindsay Easton. I have concluded that Baldwins Crane Hire Limited should be charged with an offence of corporate manslaughter.”
The company faced manslaughter and health and safety charges. The company was found to be responsible for the death of the worker which resulted in the manslaughter charge as well as health and safety charges for failing to protect their employees and ensure their workers weren’t exposed to risks to their health and safety.
Wragg went on to explain:
“May I remind all concerned that criminal proceedings against Baldwins Crane Hire Ltd. have now commenced and the company has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.
These decisions were taken in accordance with the Code of Crown Prosecutors. We have decided there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest.”
This tragic incident could have been avoided if the company involved had ensured that vehicles were properly serviced and regularly so.
Vehicles and heavy equipment on a construction site serve invaluable purposes but they can also be a source of concern, especially when they are faulty and irregularly serviced.
There are already a number of hazards that workers have to contend with on construction sites without employers’ neglect of machinery and vehicles adding to these concerns.
Operators also have a responsibility to ensure that they inspect vehicles every day before use and do not operate faulty machinery or vehicles or they too could be injured or killed, as the operator above was.
While proper servicing of vehicles is an important aspect of construction safety, it is also important that everyone working on the construction site is trained to be there. Operators need to have the necessary high risk licences and white card training before undertaking any type of crane work.