Fatal crushing incident on site was a ‘preventable accident’

  • Health & Safety
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

A granite supplier and its company director in the West Midlands have been sentenced, after a fatal incident on site

Robert Czachracz, 46, was operating an overhead crane by pendant control, to unpack and move slabs onto storage racks. As he was doing so, two 250kg granite slabs fell and crushed him against a forklift truck. Despite efforts from bystanders and emergency services, he died at the scene.

Investigations afterward by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) uncovered a number of failures in safety management. Graniteland Limited and its director, Mr Shu Lai Li, had not implemented staff training or developed safe systems of work for unloading, loading and handling concrete slabs.

HSE found no evidence that staff were trained to safely operate machinery, including the overhead crane. There were no thorough examinations for the crane or forklift truck, and the webbing slings that supported the slabs were damaged.

Graniteland Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The company was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £4,196.03 in costs at Dudley Magistrates’ Court on 6 March 2024.

Mr Shu Lai Li, of Lyde Green, Halesowen, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work and pay £4,043.42 in costs at Dudley Magistrates’ Court on 6 March 2024.

HSE inspector Mahesh Mahey spoke following the sentencing:

“This was an entirely preventable accident. The risks of lifting and moving granite slabs were obvious, yet could have been controlled by relatively simple and inexpensive measures. The company and director failed to adequately control lifting operations which resulted in an employee needlessly and tragically losing his life.”

Visit BrAInbox today where you can find answers to questions like Can you use a cage on a forklift truck?

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