Baldwins hit for £900,000
UK based Baldwins Crane Hire has been fined £700,000 plus £200,000 in costs after being found guilty corporate manslaughter for the death of its operator Lindsay Easton when his 500 tonne crane ran away and collided with an earth bank as he negotiated a steep hill from the Scout Moor wind farm in 2011.
The penalties are payable over five years and the court also ordered that a statement be posted on the company's website - which it has already done - and that within the next three months it make a statement to the trade press.
The company had been found guilty earlier this month due to the fact that the crane’s brakes had not only not been maintained, but some of the braking systems were also partially disabled. The court heard that the crane was not Easton's usual crane, detective Seargent John McNamara, spoke at the sentencing said: “We welcome today’s sentencing and hope that it serves as a reminder to all companies to properly manage and maintain equipment and vehicles, and to keep the safety of their employees at the forefront of their responsibilities".
“The brakes on the crane driven by Mr Easton that day were in a shockingly bad state and this was a disaster waiting to happen. Had this happened on a road with more vehicles this incident could have been even more serious than it already was".
Passing sentence the Judge Pamela Badley said: "The jury decided that the cause of the crash was brake failure, as a result of gross negligence on the part of senior management of the company who had failed to put systems in place for safe working and monitoring."
Health and Safety Executive inspector Kevin Jones said: "I also wish to pay tribute to the heroic actions of Mr Easton which helped prevent an even greater potential tragedy by his attempt to stop the crane on the run-off lane rather than continuing down the access road and onto the public highway."
A victims personal statement from Easton's widow Susan read to the court said: "The life of our family has changed forever. When someone goes to work you expect at the end of the day that they will come home."
Baldwins Crane Hire apologised unreservedly through its solicitor, both prior to the hearing and in court, adding that Easton's death had “affected the Baldwin family very deeply". He aslo added: “it is now a very different company, its health and safety procedures now comply with best practise".
See Baldwins found guilty of Corporate Manslaughter
See Baldwins trial to go ahead