Health and Safety Executive fines heavy lifting firm Osprey for fall incident at Port of Blyth

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A specialist heavy lifting company has been fined after two members of staff fell off a platform on a crane at the Port of Blyth.

Osprey Heavy Lift Limited was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay £9,136 of costs at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday following the incident, which occurred on January 19, 2021.

Two men were in the process of installing the platform using four lifting chains, which were looped over attachment points on the platform so that it could be lifted into position, when the accident occurred.

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During the installation, two of the chains came off the attachment points and one side of the platform fell to the ground.

Two men fell when the installation of the platform went wrong. (Photo by HSE)Two men fell when the installation of the platform went wrong. (Photo by HSE)
Two men fell when the installation of the platform went wrong. (Photo by HSE)

Despite both workers using safety equipment they both fell from the platform. One of them fell around 4m, resulting in serious injuries that included fractured wrist, eye socket, and ribs.

Government safety regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), investigated the incident and found Osprey failed to properly plan the lift, which led to unsuitable lifting accessories being used.

Suitable anchor points for workers’ safety harnesses were not identified prior to the work starting and the potential fall distance was not considered.

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The firm also did not provide appropriate instructions and information about working at height and lifting operations.

Following the court hearing, HSE inspector Clare Maltby said: “Companies who undertake crane assembly work must properly plan lifting activities and work at height, making certain the equipment selected is suitable for the task.

“Workers should be provided with adequate health and safety information and instructions.”

Osprey is headquartered in Portishead, near Bristol, and has a base in Cramlington.

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A Port of Blyth spokesperson confirmed the incident occurred on port land and said: “The operation was entirely under the control of the heavy lift crane operator and did not involve any port employees.”