Dock Work Safety Fatality

A ship repair and conversion company is ordered to pay £98,500 in fines and costs after a worker was crushed to death when an anchor weighing almost three tonnes toppled onto him in a dry dock at Teesport.

Investigation by Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that while the deceased worker was trained to operate a dockside portal crane, he had no formal qualifications in lifting and slinging of loads. It was also unclear how many times he had undertaken the ranging of anchors and chains before the fatal incident. His two colleagues both had training certificates relating to carrying out lifting and slinging operations, but only one of them had carried out the task of ranging the anchors and chains before, and then only on one occasion. HSE also established that the company did not have an effective management system in place to inform supervisors and others of employees’ competence. In addition, the company had not carried out or recorded an assessment of the risks associated with the ranging of anchors and chains, and there was no safe system of work in place for this task.

The court was told that following the incident an Improvement Notice was served for the implementation of a safe system of work for the ranging of anchors and chains, as well as a system for assessing the competence of those required to carry out the task.

Section 2(1) of Britain’s Health and Safety At Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”

Here is the HSE press release on the matter.

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