steel worker

Steel worker crushed to death between two beams

A structural steel contractor has been fined £120,000 after a worker was killed after becoming trapped between two beams.

In May 2019, Steve Rooke, 55, was working in the workshop at manufacturer and installer Mifflin Construction Ltd in Leominster, Herefordshire.

Rooke had worked at the company for more than 27 years. He was using an overhead travelling crane to lift the middle of three beams to position it better on a trolley or ‘bogey’ which ran on rails in the workshop.

The beam he was lifting was 18m long and weighed 1,800kg.  As it was lifted, it rotated in a sling, toppling sideways and trapping him against another beam causing fatal injuries.

An HSE investigation found the company failed to ensure a suitable and sufficient risk assessment was conducted by a competent person to identify well known industry standard control measures.

Suitable and sufficient information, instruction, and training was not provided to employees about lifting operations at the site.

The company did not properly plan lifts and did not have a system for ensuring adequately qualified supervisors were present during lifting operations.

At Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court Mifflin Construction Limited pleaded guilty to safety breaches. They were fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £50,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Steve Richardson said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.”