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Plant hire boss jailed over death of worker in crane collapse

Gary Currie, 39, died when the elevated platform basket he was working in fell 92ft in Glasgow.

Crane: The basket carrying the workers fell 92ft.
Crane: The basket carrying the workers fell 92ft. Crown Office

A plant hire manager has been jailed over health and safety breaches after one of his workers died when a crane collapsed in Glasgow city centre.

Donald Craig received the maximum penalty of two years in jail after he was found guilty of contravening legislation following a 16-day trial.

Gary Currie, 39, a safety net rigger, died after the elevated work platform basket he was operating fell 92ft at the Buchanan House office block in Port Dundas Road.

His colleague Alexander Nisbet, a self-employed operator contracted by Craig's firm, was also in the basket at the time and was seriously injured in the plunge on June 20, 2012.

Craig's company, Craig Services & Access Limited, was also found guilty of three charges relating to the collapse of the platform, resulting in a £61,000 fine.

Gary Aitken, head of the Crown Office's health and safety division, said: "This incident, which resulted in the death of Gary Currie and caused serious injury to Alexander Nisbet, could have been avoided had Donald Craig and Craig Services & Access Limited heeded advice and taken measures to maintain the platform in a safe condition.

"At the centre of this all was the decision to instruct this repair. It was a decision that left Gary Currie and Alexander Nisbet exposed to an unacceptable risk and was essentially an accident waiting to happen.

"A mobile elevating work platform is a safety critical piece of equipment and it was highly foreseeable that such a repair would risk the lives of those using the equipment."

He added: "This incident has left family and friends devastated at the loss of a loved one.

"Hopefully this prosecution will remind other employers that failure to fulfil their obligations can have tragic consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings."

Breach: The structure collapsed in June 2012.
Breach: The structure collapsed in June 2012. Crown Office

Another company, JM Access Solutions Ltd, was fined £30,000 for its failure to carry out an examination of the platform following an earlier incident in May 2011 when the machine sustained damage to its main boom.

The court heard the repair to the crane had been incorrectly carried out and JM Access was found to have failed in its to carry out an adequate assessments of it.

Health and Safety Executive principal inspector Graeme McMinn stated: "The death of Gary Currie was entirely preventable. Craig Services and Access Ltd and Donald Craig were advised by the manufacturer to replace the damaged boom. Instead, they chose a much cheaper repair that left the boom in an unsafe condition."

He added: "At the time of the accident the mobile elevating work platform had a catalogue of defects, some of which were safety-critical, demonstrating that Craig Services and Access Ltd did not have an adequate proactive maintenance and reactive repair system in place within the company.

"For a complex piece of equipment such as this, that system should have included daily pre-use checks, intermediate inspections and maintenance based on manufacturer recommendations and six monthly thorough examinations carried out by a competent person independent of the mobile elevating work platform owner.

"This tragic accident should highlight the absolute duty for owners of mobile elevating work platforms to maintain them to ensure continued safe operation."

Collapse: The aftermath of the incident in Glasgow city centre in 2012.
Collapse: The aftermath of the incident in Glasgow city centre in 2012. SWNS
Machine: The crane was damaged in May 2011 incident.
Machine: The crane was damaged in May 2011 incident. Crown Office

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