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'No such thing as routine' for lifting

PLANT Safety chief underlines need for planning of deliveries following lorry loader death

CONTRACTORS must properly plan all deliveries to site, a senior safety inspector warned this week.

The call from Bill McKay, the Health and Safety Executive's principal construction inspector for the north-east, follows the prosecution of Seymour Civil Engineering over the death of a lorry loader driver. It is the second court case in a month involving 'routine' deliveries.

Seymour was fined £50,000 for failing to plan and supervise a lift after the death of Dowse Crane Hire driver Marc Channon in Ryal, Northumberland, in 2002.

In the incident a site cabin being unloaded by Mr Channon and a slinger employed by Seymour fell from its chains and struck Mr Channon, causing multiple injuries.

Both men were trained slingers but the load was found to be too big for the tackle.

Following the court hearing Mr Mackay said: 'The message is that people should not assume that routine lifts are simple and straightforward.

'They should always be planned.That means planning at the hire depot and on the site - and by people who know what they are doing.

'Principal contractors need to address this seriously.

When specialist subbies come to site there should be an individual assessment, not a blanket ruling.

'There is no such thing as a 'routine' operation.'

His call coincides with the publication of a best practice guide on lifting operations from the Construction Confederation, which recommends that lorry loaders used to lift to height should be subject to a similar planning and supervision regime to mobile cranes.The guide for contractors, compiled with the assistance of plant hirers'association the CPA and with the support of the HSE, also recommends the same strictures for telehandlers when used as cranes.

The case has highlighted the need for an urgent revision of the British Standard for lorry loaders, BS7121 Part 4, to take account of the increasing use of high-capacity machines as site cranes. It is understood this work is to begin imminently.