Firms fined for safety failings as worker crushed to death at Parkeston Quay

Chelmsford Crown Court

Chelmsford Crown Court - Credit: Lucy taylor

Two international firms must pay more than £1million between them after one worker died and another was left serious injured at Parkeston Quay, near Harwich.

Part of a wind turbine blade weighing more than two tonnes fell during loading of a barge transporting the cargo to the Greater Gabbard wind farm on May 21 2010, crushing the victim who died.

The injured man, Frank Kroeger, was airlifted to Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, and had to be resuscitated twice.

He suffered a ruptured spleen, lacerations to his liver, a collapsed lung, multiple broken ribs on his left side, and significant crush injuries to his right arm and hand, with nerve damage to his thumb and fingers.

His injuries were life-changing and required almost three weeks in hospital in the UK, followed by a long period of rehabilitation and treatment near his home in Germany.

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Both workers were employed by Siemens Windpower but were working for Fluor Ltd, the principal contractor.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found serious safety failings in the two firms’ management systems for the loading operation, which allowed vital parts of equipment to go unchecked before being lifted, leading to a prosection by the agency.

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Fluor Ltd was found guilty of breaching a work health and safety law after a four-week trial in July, while Siemens admitted the offence and a second breach of safety regulations at an earlier stage.

Both companies were sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday.

Fluor Ltd was ordered to pay £275,000 in fines and £271,048 costs, while Siemens was fined £375,000 and given costs of £105,355.

HSE Inspector Julie Rayner, speaking after the hearing, said: “This incident could easily have been avoided had suitable systems and procedures been in place to ensure that all loads were properly connected whilst being lifted.

“Had the right questions been asked when the lift was being planned and had the bolt and two brackets holding the blade and frame together been checked before they were lifted, the death and serious injury of two workers could have been prevented.

“This case clearly highlights the need to ensure that relevant information is considered when lift plans are produced to ensure all of the relevant risks are considered.”

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