Two construction workers narrowly escaped a tragic accident at a residential tower project in London when a defective cradle they were working in plummeted approximately 90 feet.
The incident occurred on 4th June 2020 at the Pennington Street building, where Marcel Botnaru and Radu Baracu were stationed on the ninth floor in the ill-fated cradle.
The catastrophic incident was attributed to improperly fitted support beams with incorrect-sized end stops, causing the cradle to roll off the platform and crash to the ground below.
Miraculously, Mr Botnaru suffered six broken ribs and a punctured lung, while Mr Baracu was forced to take six weeks off work due to injuries. Both men, however, were fortunate to escape more severe and potentially life-threatening harm.
Two companies specialising in access equipment provision and installation faced legal repercussions for this accident. They were collectively fined a total of £240,000 during their sentencing at Croydon Magistrates Court on 10th November 2023.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that Zarafa Height Solutions Limited, the manufacturer of the support beams, failed to ensure their safety before leaving their Grantham factory. Giraffe Access Company Limited, responsible for installing the cradle and support beams at the London Dock site, also failed to identify the defects during their safety checks before commissioning.
Both companies, located in Hungate, Pickering, North Yorkshire, are part of the Zarafa Group and pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. As a result, Zarafa Height Solutions Limited received a fine of £120,000 and was ordered to pay £3,987 in costs, while Giraffe Access Company Limited was fined £120,000 and required to cover £3,996 in costs.
Following the court’s decision, HSE inspector Kevin Smith emphasised the gravity of the incident, stating, “This incident could have ended in a double tragedy. Both of these men suffered injuries but were fortunate to escape with their lives. The fines imposed on these two companies should underline to everyone in the construction industry the importance of ensuring that rigorous safety checks are carried out on equipment before it is put to use. We will not hesitate to take action against companies which do not do all that they should to keep people safe.”