Two-Year Jail Term For Plant Hire Firm Boss Over 2012 Fatal Accident

6 January 2017, 15:10 | Updated: 6 January 2017, 15:13

Judge's Gavel

The manager of a plant hire firm has been sentenced to two years in prison for health and safety breaches that led to the death of one man and caused serious injury to another.

Donald Craig, 57, was found guilty of a breach of legislation after a 16-day trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court.

The court heard how safety net rigger Gary Currie died and Alexander Nisbet was seriously injured while working in the basket of a platform which was 92ft above the ground.

The pair were removing netting from the Buchanan House office block in Glasgow city centre in June 2012 when the third main boom buckled, causing it to fall to the ground.

Craig Services & Access Limited, based in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, was also found guilty of three charges relating to the collapse of a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) and maintenance failures. Craig's company was fined a total of £61,000.

Another firm, J M Access Solutions, was also fined £30,000 for its failure to carry out a detailed and thorough examination of the platform and its safety-critical parts.

The tragedy followed an earlier platform incident in May 2011, after which Craig Services & Access Limited had instructed a repair to the damaged section of the main boom.

The repair had been incorrectly carried out and J M Access Solutions failed in its duty to carry out an adequate thorough examination of the platform.

Gary Aitken, head of health and safety division at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, 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.

''This incident has left family and friends devastated at the loss of a loved one.''

Graeme McMinn, principal inspector of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), said: ''The death of Gary Currie was entirely preventable.

''Craig Services and Access 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.''

At the time of the accident, Mr McMinn said the elevating platform had a catalogue of defects, some of which were ''safety critical'' and should have been subject to daily pre-use checks.

He added: ''The competence and diligence of a thorough examiner is vital as it is they who declare the MEWP safe to use.

''JM Access Solutions Ltd failed to carry out a diligent thorough examination and declared the MEWP safe to use.''