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24.04.2013

Manslaughter trial for lift fall

The senior director of a UK engineering company has gone on trial for manslaughter, following a boom lift incident in 2008

At the time we were unable to confirm the incident, which occurred at the Swan Hunter shipyard in Wallsend, near Newcastle, during the demolition of a large steel building.

A man, Kenneth Joyce, 53, was thrown from the platform he was working from when it was struck by a falling beam. He fell over nine metres to the ground below and was then struck by another falling beam.
Allan Turnbull, 61, the owner and director of A&H Boring and machining is on trial for manslaughter. He was contracted by North Eastern Marine Offshore Contracts (NEMOC) to dismantle the building even though he has little or no experience of taking down such a large structure.

Christopher Taylor, 52, a director of NEMOC, also faces two charges of failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety Act, which he denies.
Richard Matthews QC, prosecuting at Newcastle crown court, said: “Kenneth Joyce was operating a mobile elevating platform and, along with Tony Billington, they had removed steel bolts between two 14-tonne plate girders that were part of the roof of a building known as the Burning Hall.”

“Crane operator Stanley Woods was in the process of lowering the cross beam when it appears the plate girders became unstable. One of these girders fell and knocked over the aerial lift that Kenneth Joyce was in, throwing him some 30ft to the ground. The other girder twisted and fell, knocking the 250kg beam free from the crane and to the ground, where it struck Joyce, fatally injuring him.”

Turnbull denies manslaughter and not guilty pleas have been entered for NEMOC, which faces two charges of failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety Act.

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