17.10.2008

HSE will not prosecute in Liverpool tower crane accident

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced today that it will not prosecute anyone in the Liverpool luffing tower crane accident of January 2007 that resulted in the death of a construction worker - Zbigniew Roman Swirzynsk See original reports

Following a thorough investigation by the Merseyside Police and the HSE, assisted by the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), the HSE has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to bring proceedings against any of the parties investigated. These included the crane manufacturer- Jaso, the crane rental company - Falcon, the principal contractor running the site, the sub-contractor using the crane at the time of the incident and the crane operator.

The crane collapsed when the slew ring bolts failed and the slew ring fractured, allowing the main crane assembly to fall from its tower and land upside down on top of the building being constructed.

Commenting on the decision, Mike Cross, HSE head of operations for construction in the North West said: “This decision was reached after a lengthy and exhaustive investigation into the causes of the collapse which involved interviews with numerous witnesses and the extensive involvement of HSE and HSL specialists."

"No effort was spared in determining the cause of this tragic incident, which involved visits to the crane manufacturers in Spain and full engagement with the tower crane community in GB. We have already contacted Mr Swirzynski’s family to let them know our decision.”

“As a result of this investigation HSE has written to all tower crane hirers and suppliers in the UK providing them with HSE’s technical conclusions as to the cause of the incident. We have asked them to consider what, if anything, they need to do in the light of these findings. The companies have been asked to consult with tower crane manufacturers (none of which are UK based) as necessary to inform their considerations and communicate the message to the users of their cranes. HSE is monitoring their responses and stands ready to take any necessary follow-up action.

“We are also engaging with a number of other key stakeholders including the Strategic Forum for Construction and the Crane Plant Hire Association and with European colleagues to ensure that lessons learnt from this incident are acted upon.”



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