Overhead crane Vs scissor lift

We have just learnt of a serious incident involving an overhead crane colliding with an elevated scissor lift that occurred in the UK in late 2022, inflicting life changing injuries on the occupant of the scissor lift.

Unlike most such cases this one has been prosecuted and judgement handed down relatively quickly. The man in the scissor lift, 52, was an electrician employed by Optilight Electrical Services, and was working at a height of around 10 metres or so, repairing light fittings at Expert Tooling and Automation’s facility in Coventry.

One of the factory employees began to travel the overhead crane and failed to notice the electrician or the scissor lift, he was working from. The crane collided with the scissor lift, overturning it. The electrician was thrown out of the platform and struck his head on the floor, sustaining serious injuries, including a fractured skull, two brain bleeds, a broken collarbone, eight broken ribs, a broken elbow and wrist as well as a punctured lung. He was rushed to hospital and later placed in an induced coma, before undergoing several operations.

A second person from Optilight Electrical narrowly avoided being crushed by the falling scissor lift but managed to jump out of the way before it landed on him.

The entire episode was captured on the facilities CCTV system, you can see the entire video at the end of this report.

An HSE investigation found that Optilight Electrical had not identified that in the event someone used the overhead crane it could have such dire consequences. Expert Tooling did not put procedures in place to prevent the use of its overhead cranes while the work at height was taking place. Instead, it relied on the contractors identifying risks and implementing control measures, rather than ensuring procedures were already in place. Both companies did not communicate with each other on how the work they were undertaking could impact their staff’s safety at the site.

The fines
Expert Tooling was fined £50,000, plus £1,985.97 in costs. Optilight was fined £7,000 plus costs of £1,985.97.
HSE inspector Charlotte Cunniffe said: “This case clearly illustrates the disastrous consequences that can occur when two companies each assume the other has taken responsibility for safe working practices. Risk often arises through a failure to communicate effectively.”

Note: HSE guidance recommends implementing ‘permit to work’ systems for work activities that require extra care. They are a more formal system stating exactly what work is to be done and when, and which parts are safe. Permit to work systems also provide a means of communication between site management, supervisors, operators and those who carry out the work. More on this can be found at: www.hse.gov.uk Human factors/ergonomics – Permit to work systems

Full CCTV video

You can see the entire video below or it may have played while you were reading the article, you can also watch it without the hassle Clicking here for Yahoo News version