Company Prosecuted Over Crane Accident

A roofing company has been prosecuted after a new employee was electrocuted while operating a lorry driven crane near Eastleigh.

Anthony Milani, 26, of Greenacres, Newbury, died when the crane touched overhead power cables at West Horton Farm Industrial Estate, near Eastleigh on 14 August 2007.

Blackford Ltd of Hambridge Road, Newbury (formerly Harris Roofing Supplies Ltd), pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974 at Southampton Crown Court.

The company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs in the case brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The court heard that Mr Milani had been employed by Blackford as an HGV driver and warehouseman in April 2007.

He was shown how to use the Hiab crane by the senior warehouseman who was not a competent trainer.

The men had visited West Horton Farm Industrial Estate prior to the incident, and the senior warehouseman said Mr Milani had operated the crane without incident.

Although the senior warehouseman was aware of the overhead electric cables at the site, he said he did not consider them to be a hazard. He was unaware of health and safety guidance about overhead power lines or the necessary training of crane drivers.

Signs warning of overhead cables had been removed several weeks earlier by the site owners.

Mr Milani was delivering roofing materials to the premises of SBM at the industrial estate on his own when he parked directly underneath the three overhead 11Kv cables.

He deployed only the nearside stabiliser when both sides should have been used. After unloading the second pallet he brought the jib of the Hiab across the rear of the flatbed when it struck one of the cables. He was killed instantly.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Dennis MacWilliam, said:

"Proper training, simple checks and procedures could have prevented this horrific incident. Tragically, Mr Milani had been booked-in to do a professional course in handling lorry mounted cranes in the month he died.

"The company failed to provide suitable and sufficient training and supervision for Mr Milani in the used of Hiab cranes and especially the risk from overhead power lines. They also failed to ensure lifting operations were properly planned and hazards identified.

"Delivery arrangements at clients' premises should also have been checked from time to time."