Crane company fined after hoisted worker suffered fatal fall

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A YORKSHIRE crane company was fined yesterday after a court heard that one of its employees died after falling from a metal container which had been hoisted 13ft in the air by a forklift truck.

Martin Denton, who 60 at the time of the incident, was working for Sheffield-based United Crane Services when the incident happened at Millennium Rubber in Pott Shrigley, near Macclesfield.

Mr Denton, who lived in Rotherham, was in the metal container, known as a stillage, and had been lifted in the air to try to repair an overhead crane.

It slipped off the forklift truck and fell to the concrete floor leaving him with serious head injuries. He was taken to hospital but died later that day.

An investigation by officers from the Health and Safety Executive found that lifting workers in stillages had been standard practice at Millennium Rubber, despite the dangers of such activity.

Both United Crane Services and Millennium Rubber were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive and admitted breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act at Chester Crown Court.

Mr Denton’s widow Kitty said: “The day Martin was killed was the worst day of our lives, sending shock through the family. After five years we still feel the hurt every day, and it doesn’t get any easier.

“Martin went to work that morning a fit and healthy, loving family man, and didn’t come home to us. Life without him is very different and very difficult. Everyday life will never be the same.

“His death has left a massive hole in not only my life, but that of his three grown-up children and eight grandchildren, and the rest of our family and friends.

“We feel really let down by the companies he was working for. The accident should never have happened and we wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what we are going through.”

Millennium Rubber, which produces rubber surfaces for running tracks and children’s playgrounds, was fined £90,000 and ordered to pay £21,411 in prosecution costs in a sentencing hearing a Warrington Crown Court yesterday.

United Crane Services, of Claywheels Lane in Sheffield, also pleaded guilty to one breach of the same act and was fined £10,000 with costs of £5,000.