On the 08th December 2016 HSE prosecuted a company which maintains container cranes for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA). HSWA 2(1) requires employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees. The company pleaded guilty to the charges and were fined £39000 at Basildon Crown Court.
The incident which prompted the HSE investigation occurred on a Paceco–Vickers container crane. An employee of the defendant company was undertaking an inspection of the crane’s winch drum and wire ropes when his foot became entangled in the rotating winch drum. He was released a number of hours later by having his leg amputated. Some of the failings by the defendant company included having an inadequate safe system of work, inadequate risk assessments, having poor arrangements to stop the crane in the event of an emergency and providing poor information and instruction.
In light of this unfortunate incident, HSE urges those in control of container cranes to review their guarding arrangements to ensure that they are fully compliant with legislation. Those who have control of container cranes have a legal duty under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery before any part of a person enters a danger zone. This includes preventing access to any dangerous part of a winch drum. A suitable risk assessment should be undertaken to identify such dangerous parts of machinery and appropriate measures should be taken to prevent access. Safe systems of work should also be implemented and communicated to employees. This incident was entirely preventable if these simple steps had been taken.
This incident took place in a UK port but the failings were deemed to be those of the contracted maintenance provider and no action was taken against the port.
We reported a separate fatality in our 2015 statistics associated with crane maintenance. We recently reported fatalities involving entrapment in conveyor systems in the extraction industry in the UK and at the port of Bilbao.
Maintenance (including cleaning and repair) of plant and equipment remains a risk that needs to be managed across the industry.
Those who have control of container cranes or other plant and equipment with significant risks, are advised to review internal or contractor arrangements as appropriate. This should be done in line with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, other appropriate regulations and associated guidance. It should include but not be limited to arrangements designed to:
- Ensure that suitable risk assessment has been undertaken to identify dangerous parts of machinery.
- Prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery before any part of a person enters a danger zone.
- Ensure that safe systems of work are being implemented and communicated to employees.