Plant manager jailed over fatal crane collapse in Glasgow

Mobile crane operating by lifting and moving an heavy electric generator

A manager at a plant hire firm has been jailed for two years over a crane collapse in Glasgow that killed one worker and seriously injured another.


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Donald Craig, 57, of Craig Services, was found guilty of health and safety breaches over the accident at Buchanan House, Port Dundas, on 20 June 2012.

Craig Services was fined £61,000 and another contractor was fined £30,000.

Gary Currie, 39, died and Alexander Nisbet, 38, sustained a head injury after their platform fell 28m (92ft).

Mr Currie, a safety net rigger, and Mr Nisbet, a self-employed operator contracted by Craig Services, were in the basket of the platform removing netting from the facade of the Buchanan House office block when the collapse happened.

Maintenance failures

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the third main boom section of the crane buckled, causing the platform’s basket to fall to the ground.

Hamilton based Craig Services and Access Limited was fined after being found guilty of three charges relating to the collapse, including failures in relation to it maintenance.

Another firm, JM Access Solutions Ltd, was fined for its failure to carry out a thorough examination of the platform and its safety-critical parts.

This followed an earlier incident involving the platform in May 2011, after which Craig Services had instructed a repair to the damaged section of the main boom.

The repair was incorrectly carried out and JM Access Solutions Ltd were judged to have failed in their duty to carry out an adequate thorough examination of the platform.

Mr Craig was convicted of health and safety breaches on 9 December, following a 16-day trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court.

He has now been jailed for two years – the maximum penalty possible.

‘Entirely preventable’

Speaking after sentencing, HSE principal inspector, Graeme McMinn, said: “The death of Gary Currie was entirely preventable. Craig Services and Access Ltd and Donald Craig were advised by the manufacturer to replace the damaged boom.

“Instead, they chose a much cheaper repair that left the boom in an unsafe condition.

“At the time of the accident, the mobile elevated working platform had a catalogue of defects, some of which were safety critical demonstrating that Craig Services and Access Ltd did not have an adequate proactive maintenance and reactive repair system in place within the company.”

Gary Aitken, head of the Crown Office health and safety division, said the fatal accident could have been avoided had “Craig Services and Access Limited heeded advice and taken measures to maintain the platform in a safe condition”.

He added: “At the centre of this all was the decision to instruct this repair.

“It was a decision that left Gary Currie and Alexander Nisbet exposed to an unacceptable risk and was essentially an accident waiting to happen.

“This incident has left family and friends devastated at the loss of a loved one.”

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