Access firms fined after workers fall 27 metres

Two companies have been fined a total of £240,000 after two workers fell 27 metres as the result of a defective cradle.

Marcel Botnaru and Radu Baracu were working in the cradle at level nine of a residential tower in Pennington Street, Wapping, east London.

According to a statement from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the support beams for the cradle had been fitted with wrong-sized end stops, which resulted in the cradle rolling off the end and crashing to the ground.

An HSE investigation found that Zarafa Height Solutions failed to ensure that the support beams it manufactured were safe to use when they left its factory in Grantham, Lincolnshire.

A second firm, Giraffe Access Company, which installed the cradle and support beams at the construction site, failed to identify that they were defective during safety checks prior to commissioning, according to the safety inspectorate.

View of the fallen cradle. Source: HSE

Both companies are part of the Zarafa Group and based in Pickering, North Yorkshire. They pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act at Croydon Magistrates’ Court.

Zarafa Height Solutions Limited was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £3,987 in costs. Giraffe Access Company Limited was also fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £3,996 in costs.

After sentencing, HSE inspector Kevin Smith said: “This incident could have ended in a double tragedy. Both of these men suffered injuries but were fortunate to escape with their lives.

“The fines imposed on these two companies should underline to everyone in the construction industry the importance of ensuring that rigorous safety checks are carried out on equipment before it is put to use.

“We will not hesitate to take action against companies which do not do all that they should to keep people safe.”

The incident occurred in June 2020.

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