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Battersea crane collapse firm fined

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Norfolk-headquartered Falcon Crane Hire has been fined £750,000 following the fatal Battersea crane collapse almost 10 years ago.

Southwark Crown Court heard that 24 bolts failed due to metal fatigue on the crane that collapsed on a housing development in Thessaly Road, south London, in September 2006.

Crane operator Jonathan Cloke, 37, and member of the public Michael Alexa, 23, both died in the incident.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that bolts had failed on the same crane nine weeks before the accident and had been replaced.

The HSE said the company had an “inadequate” system to manage the inspection and maintenance of its fleet of cranes. The body added that the firm’s process to investigate the underlying cause of components’ failings was also inadequate.

HSE head of operations Mike Wilcock said: “Jonathan and Michael’s deaths were tragic, needless and entirely avoidable.

“These two men need not have died had Falcon Crane Hire taken the right, decisive action when the bolts failed the first time. The company fell far short of its health and safety obligation.”

As well as the fine, the company was ordered to pay £100,000 costs after breaching sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act.

Falcon Crane Hire expressed its condolences to the families and friends of Cloke and Alexa.

“The company regards health and safety as being of paramount importance in its operations and it has taken every step to ensure that procedures adopted in the pursuance of its operations are conducted as safely and efficiently as possible,” it added in a statement.

The firm said it had co-operated with the authorities throughout the investigation.

“The company has examined all its procedures,” it added. “Where lessons could be learnt, they have been. Where different methods of work could be used, they have been implemented. Where higher levels of skills could be attained, the necessary training has been given.”




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