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10 Year Delay In Battersea Crane Disaster Trial

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Battersea Crane Disaster Trial 10 Year Delay Until September 2016 Due To Lack Of Crown Court Capacity In London

A ten years delay in a trial over the deaths of two people is an outrage and  should not be happening due to cutbacks of Ministry of Justice budgets and is completely unacceptable says GMB.

The trial of the case against a crane hire company and its director over the deaths of an employee and member of the public when a tower crane collapsed at a construction site in Battersea over 8 years ago is not scheduled to take place until September 2016 due to a lack of capacity in the courts to hear the case until then.

The defendants will formally arraigned at a hearing in Southwark Crown Court at the end of May 2015. This follows an earlier directions hearing at Southwark Crown Court which took place on 12th March 2015. See notes to editors for GMB press release on the earlier hearing.

Jonathon Cloke, 37, fell to his death from inside the cab of the crane when it overloaded and snapped at a Barratt Homes site in September 2006. A section of the crane then struck and killed Michael Alexa, 23, as he cleaned his car in a neighbouring street outside the development.

On Wednesday 25th February a first appearance took place at Westminster Magistrates Court where Falcon Crane Hire Ltd and Douglas Genge were to be charged with Health &Safety at Work Act (HSWA) breaches after HSE identified alleged failings with maintenance and overloading of the crane in question. The Magistrates Court moved the case to be heard in the Crown Court.

The inquest did not take place until March 2012, itself a delay of six years.

The Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group founded by BWTUC, GMB and Construction Safety Campaign and the family of Michael Alexa successfully campaigned for crane regulation which was introduced in 2010. 3 years later in 2013 this legislation was abolished by the Tory/Lib Dem government as “red tape”. See notes to editors for a copy of the regulations.

John McClean, GMB National H&S Officer, said “We have been informed that the full hearing into this dreadful case will not now be heard until September 2016. A delay of ten long years is an outrage and is completely unacceptable.

Delayed justice is not only harrowing for the families and friends of the victims of this tragic accident but should not be happening in a country with a mature, democratic legal system, and may be the result of cutbacks in Ministry of Justice budgets.

In a recent consultation from the Ministry of Justice on sentencing guidelines for corporate manslaughter, health & safety and food hygiene offences GMB stressed that justice in these crimes should take place much more quickly so that families of victims can have closure.

This unacceptable delay puts into sharp focus International Workers’ Memorial Day to be held on Tuesday, 28 April which is an international annual day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled and injured by their work.”

End

Contact: John McClean GMB 07710 631 329 or Dan Shears 07918 767781 GMB Press Office 07921 289 880

Notes to editors

GMB press release

CASE AGAINST COMPANY AND DIRECTOR OVER 2006 BATTERSEA FATAL CRANE COLLAPSE MOVED TO SOUTHWARK CROWN COURT ON 11TH MARCH

At the hearing this week the judge expressed concern that it has taken nearly 9 years for charges to be brought for these deaths due to a crane collapse says GMB

The case against a crane hire company and its director over the deaths of an employee and member of the public when a tower crane collapsed at a construction site in Battersea over 8 years ago has been moved to Southwark Crown Court which a hearing scheduled for 9.30am 11th March 2015.

This follows a first appearance at Westminster Magistrates Court at 2pm on Wednesday 25th February where Falcon Crane Hire Ltd and Douglas Genge were charged with Health &Safety at Work Act (HSWA) breaches after HSE identified alleged failings with maintenance and overloading of the crane in question.

Jonathon Cloke, 37, fell to his death from inside the cab of the crane when it overloaded and snapped at a Barratt Homes site in September 2006. A section of the crane then struck and killed Michael Alexa, 23, as he cleaned his car in a neighbouring street outside the development.

John McClean, GMB National Health and Safety Officer, said “At the hearing this week the judge expressed concern that it has taken nearly 9 years for charges to be brought against the company and the director for these deaths due to a crane collapse.

The case now moves to the Crown Court. GMB will discuss with the local trade unions and the families whether to stage a protest outside the Court on March 11th.

Faulty crane maintenance caused these deaths.  The Notification of Conventional Tower Crane Regulations 2010, introduced after a Battersea led campaign to prevent further crane deaths, which set out the duty to notify the use of conventional tower cranes on construction sites to HSE, have since been revoked as “red tape”. See notes to editors for copy of HSE press release of April 2010 on the Tower Crane Regulations.

Employer pressure led to these regulations being revoked and the associated Register closed down so from April 2013 there is no longer a duty to notify tower cranes on construction sites to HSE.

The long interval between the deaths and the court case and the revoking of regulations on crane collapses “as red tape” provide a clear example of how little human life is valued.”

End

Notes to editors

HSE press release dated April 2010

New tower crane regulations come into force on 6 April 2010

New regulations come into force today (6 April) requiring the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to be notified of conventional tower cranes installed on construction sites.

The new regulations:

place the duty to notify on the employer

require notification of the relevant information within 14 days of thorough examination of the crane

require cranes already erected when the Regulations come into force to be registered within 28 days

allow electronic notification via the HSE website

Details that would have to be notified to HSE are:

the site address where the tower crane is being used

the name and address of the crane owners/lessors

details needed to identify the crane

the date of its thorough examination

details of the employer for whom the examination was made

whether any defects posing a risk of serious injury were detected

All details notified will be contained in a register that will be open to public scrutiny. Notifications will be subject to an administration fee of £20.

Notes to editors

The new regulations are the Notification of Conventional Tower Cranes Regulations, SI 2010 No.333 and the Notification of Conventional Tower Cranes (Amendment) Regulations SI 2010 No.811

The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 require tower cranes to be thoroughly examined by a competent person before first use and on a periodic basis (6 or 12 months depending if they are used to lift persons) or in accordance with a written scheme of examination.

There are two main types of tower cranes, known as conventional (or 'assisted-erected') and 'self erectors'. Conventional cranes are transported in pieces and assembled on site. Self-erecting tower cranes are complete units that are brought to site and then unfolded.

 

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