Workers were using a scissor lift work platform and other equipment to remove surplus steel work. The scissor lift was incorrectly used to lower steel beams at height by resting them on the guard rails of the platform. Instead, an appropriate lifting device or crane should have been used.
The scissor lift was also used to move a longer compound crane beam weighing more than a tonne, which was more than twice the lift’s safe working load. After removing bolts keeping the beam in place using a boom lift, the man raised the scissor lift underneath the compound beam without the stabiliser legs deployed.
When the guard rail rested up against the beam, the lift’s overload alarm sounded. Repeated attempts to place the handrail of the platform against the underside of the unfastened compound beam led to the beam becoming unstable and it toppled towards the factory floor.
The compound beam falling to the ground also caused the boom lift to sway significantly, leaving the co-worker fearful of being thrown from his platform.
HSE inspector Grayam Barnes said after the hearing: “This incident, which saw completely inadequate equipment being used to remove heavy steel beams at height, could easily have resulted in a fatality.
“It is the duty of employers to ensure that the correct work equipment is provided to carry out the work they have been tasked with.
“This work was not properly planned out by either company and that lack of planning has led to a worker suffering very serious injuries which he is still recovering from more than three years later.”
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