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Apollo Cradles fined after one dead, three injured

Barnsley-based equipment supplier Apollo Cradles has been fined £115,000 after the partial collapse of an access cradle in 2003 killed one man and injured three others.

The four workers were using a suspended cradle provided by the company to work on the maintenance and painting of a Sheffield office building when the machine failed.

The men fell 10m in what Health and Safety Executive principal inspector Dave Redman described as a “betrayal of trust”.

He said the machinery had not been appropriately maintained and, furthermore, the men had never been trained to use the cradle.

The workers’ employer Bradway Construction was also hit with a £25,000 fine over the incident.

Mr Redman told Sheffield Crown Court: “The incident could have been avoided had Apollo Cradles ensured the equipment it was providing was safe and fit for use.

“By failing to operate an effective maintenance regime and to properly examine the condition of the cradle, they betrayed the trust of workers whose lives depended on them.”

Criticising Bradway for not training its staff, he added: “This is unacceptable in this day and age – all workers have a right to expect to be trained on how to use the equipment they are working with, and there is plenty of advice and guidance available to employers in the construction industry to help them meet their legal obligations.”

Both companies pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and were ordered to pay costs of £45,000 and £18,000 respectively.