Glossop firm fined for crane accident

The open-sided metal container which struck a worker at Firth Rixson Metals in Glossop, resulting in a �12,000 fine.
The open-sided metal container which struck a worker at Firth Rixson Metals in Glossop, resulting in a �12,000 fine.

A Glossop metal manufacturer has been fined £12,000 after an employee suffered a broken leg when he was struck by a container as it swung from a crane.

Firth Rixson Metals, which produces specialised metals for the aerospace, medical and oil industries, was prosecuted on Tuesday by the Health and Safety Executive, HSE, following the incident at its factory on Shepley Street on June 23, 2012.

High Peak Magistrates’ Court heard the worker, a 50-year-old local man who does wish to be named, had been using an overhead travelling crane to lift an open-sided container carrying more than 50 long metal tubes.

As he lifted the 300kg container, known as a stillage, the tubes slid out, which caused it to swing in the opposite direction. It struck the worker and broke his right leg in two places.

The HSE investigation found two plate clamps had been used in diagonally opposite corners of the stillage, which meant it became unstable when it was lifted.

The court was told the company should have found another way of moving the metal tubes using appropriate work equipment, so that workers were not put at risk. The fact that the stillage was open-sided meant that there was a high risk of the tubes sliding out when it was lifted.

Firth Rixson Metals was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £7,024 after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Edward Walker said: “An employee at Firth Rixson suffered a serious injury to his leg, but it could easily have been a lot worse. The company failed to properly plan the lift, and regularly used a combination of work equipment that was not suitable.”