BES News

Crane safety investigation

24th Apr 2018

The Metropolitan Police are investigating the death of a woman in East London who was struck by falling debris from a crane on 27th March 2018.

The 29-year-old woman, Michaela Boor, was hit by a pile of bricks which fell from a building site crane in Mile End and later died from her injuries. The Health and Safety Executive is supporting the police with their investigation.

Charges are likely to be placed against Higgins Homes, the organisation responsible for the 19-home development.
Crane safety expert Mike Ponsonby said: “The load was being moved by a luffing tower crane. This has a JIB that lifts up and down at an angle, as opposed to the t-shaped tower crane where the JIB is fixed.
"It is now the subject of a criminal investigation between the police and the HSE. It's highly likely that criminal charges will be bought again Higgins Homes, the site operator. They will carry the liability in law, in line with the Occupiers Liability Act. The crane operator, assuming that he was an employee, will have transferred his liability back to his employer.

"The crane owner has a duty of care to all people working around the crane, and a particular duty to those who are not employees and working outside of the crane area. So in this case they breached their duty of care by slewing the crane over the pavement, because people on the road had no knowledge of people working above them. When that load was dropped it was a clear breach of their duty of care.

"It's likely to be a big fine. They've also breached section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974," added Mike.
"If you inspect a crane today that is involved in an accident tomorrow, you are now in the chain of causation. And the owner of the crane will say, 'My crane is safe because it was inspected yesterday'. So that, in turn is highly likely to make them part of the criminal investigation, in the event of a fatal incident," added Mike.

"It is similar to the tipper truck incident in Bath. The man who inspected the truck, and repeatedly had knowledge of brake defects on that truck did not notify the driver. The truck later killed four people after losing control going downhill. The managing director and mechanic were both charged with manslaughter and sent to prison for 7 and 5 years. So we're not very far away from that situation here," concluded Mike.

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