Metals manufacturer fined after crane incident

HSEGlossop300Glossop-based manufacturer Firth Rixson Metals has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,024 after being found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act in putting at risk an employee who was injured when he was struck by a container as it swung from an overhead crane.

The worker had been using an overhead travelling crane, which runs along rails on the factory roof, to lift an open-sided container carrying more than 50 long metal tubes.

As he lifted the 300kg container, known as a stillage (pictured), 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, which produces specialised metals for the aerospace, medical, oil and nuclear industries, 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.

HSE Inspector Edward Walker said the employee at Firth Rixson had suffered a serious injury to his leg, “but it could easily have been a lot worse”.

The latest figures show 20 people were killed while working in the manufacturing industry in Great Britain in 2012/13

This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2013.


About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
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