Two major UK construction contractors were fined more than £50,000 at Bedford Magistrates Court following an accident during road construction.

The court determined that Edmund Nuttal Ltd and Norwest Holst Construction Ltd ‘failed to ensure the safety during lifting operations of those not in their employment,’ according to an HSE spokesperson. They also failed to properly plan, supervise and carry out a lifting operation safely. Both companies pleaded guilty. They were each fined £25,500 and each ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,400.

‘Everyone involved in lifting operations should take note of this case,’ HSE Construction Division Investigating Inspector Stephen Manley said. ‘Contractors hiring cranes need to ensure that they have in place the correct systems and expertise. If not, they will need to consider entering into “contract hire” where the crane company agrees to carry out these vital planning and supervisory duties.’

The incident happened on 4 February 2002. Subcontractor John Stuart, of Glasgow, sustained serious back injuries when he was struck by a steel bar that fell while being lifted into position by crane onto a bridge pier under construction. He has not been able to return to work.