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Engineering company receive £160,000 fine following crane death

Posted in: Employer Negligence Workplace Injuries Wrongful & Accidental Death 

Engineering company Assystem UK Ltd have been fined £160,000 after an electrician was crushed by a crane in their Lancashire factory.  51-year-old Liam O’Neill had been replacing a control cable on a platform when a crane suddenly moved and crushed him to death. Originally from Didsbury, Manchester, Mr O’Neill was immediately rushed to hospital, where he died of his injuries only a week later.

Assystem UK Ltd pleaded guilty to safety failures at Preston Crown Court: including a failure to ensure the safety of staff.  The prosecution was made under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 

Failure to reinstall safety stops on machinery

It was heard at court that Mr O’Neill had been replacing a cable in an overhead machine when the entire thing moved, crushing him against the platform’s guardrails.  It was also heard that previously, the crane – which runs on a rail above the factory – had end stops to ensure that it did not come into contact with the platform. However, they had not been reinstalled following a previous project.

The company said that they had “deep regret” about the outcome of their poor safety procedures, and agreed to pay an additional £52,500 in costs.  They said that before the incident, their health and safety record had been immaculate, but obviously required adjustments.  Mr O’Neill’s family has been “blown apart” by the tragedy.

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