Company prosecuted after an unsafe lifting operation goes wrong at Kings Cross concrete plant.

HANSON Quarry Products have been fined £400,000 after a welder lost four fingers during an unsafe lifting operation at the company’s ready-mixed concrete site at Kings Cross in London.

Southwark Crown Court heard how, on 27 September 2016, a forklift truck was being used to lift and swivel a large metal gate. The gate was attached to the truck using a chain and O-ring that was slotted on to one of the forklift truck tines with nothing to prevent it sliding off. As it was being lifted, the O-ring slipped off the tine and the gate fell to the floor, slicing off the welder’s fingers.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Hanson Quarry Products Europe Ltd did not properly plan and supervise this lifting operation to ensure it was carried out in a safe manner. The company, which pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £11,376.25.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Jane Wolfenden said: ‘The use of a forklift truck, chain and O-ring was unsafe, putting workers at unnecessary risk. This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply having a competent person plan a safe lifting operation and providing adequate supervision to ensure the lifting operation was carried out safely.

‘Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.’

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