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Work still suspended at Barratt crane death site

House builder has two similar cranes in use on its sites but inspections find no problems

WORK is still suspended on the site of the Battersea crane collapse as main contractor Barratt found two similar cranes being used on its jobs.

Crane operator John Cloake, 37, and Michael Alexa, 23, a local resident, were killed when a 50 m BPR 222 tower crane collapsed at Barratt's Viridian development. The crane was supplied, erected and operated by Falcon Crane Hire.

Barratt called for all tower cranes on its sites to be checked immediately after the accident and all machines are back in action following the tests.

A Barratt spokesman said: 'We had two similar cranes to the BPR 222 on our sites - both have received additional independent thorough examinations.'

The Health and Safety Executive is still on site and experts are examining the crane at the Health and Safety Laboratory in Buxton. The HSE said that the site is expected to be open and operational next week.

Barratt said: 'We are currently reviewing the requirements to fully commence operations. At present work is being undertaken to secure the site following the incident.

'There are a number of factors still to be taken into consideration to enable the site to become fully operational and a definitive re-commencement date has not been set.'

Crane operators across the country have expressed concerns over the HSE's investigation. One operator said: 'If it takes the HSE seven days to find out what type of crane fell at Battersea, it's no wonder we have no answers to crane-related deaths going back six years.

'A q u i ck c a l l t o Fa l c on C r a n e Hire should have got the answer as to the model of crane and in turn the HSE should immediately inform interested parties that have that model crane to stop them working until an all-clear from HSE.'

A post-mortem at St George's Mortuary last week into the death of Mr Alexa concluded that he died of multiple injuries. An inquest has been opened and adjourned.

The incident is being jointly investigated by the Metropolitan Police and the HSE.