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Tracey Graham: Prosecutions Made After Merseyside Crane Collapse

Two regional companies are being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a crane collapsed on to a block of flats in Liverpool injuring the crane driver, Ian Gillham, from Whiston. 

His tower crane was being used to help build a new hotel and apartment blocks at Kings Dock Mill, on Tabley Street. When the crane collapsed  on 6 July 2009 he suffered devastating injuries and became paralised from the waist down. The crane fell on to a partially constructed apartment block, across a road and came to rest on the Chandlers Wharf. Mr Gillham had to be rescued from the roof, and more than 100 people had to be moved from their homes as a result of the accident and its aftermath.

The two companies are Derbyshire based Bowmer and Kirkland Ltd (principal contractors) who are charged with breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and Bingham Davis Ltd (Structural Engineers), based on Deansgate, Manchester, further charged with breaching Section 3(1) of the Act.  The case proceeds to a hearing at Liverpool Magistrates' Court on 19 May 2011.

The Health & Safety at Work Act provides for employers duties with regard to those they employ.  S 2(1) clearly states that it is the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees, whereas S3(1) refers to the duty of every employer to conduct his business in such a way as to ensure, again, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment (for example, a contractor) are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.

The criminal proceedings will certainly assist with any civil claim being pursued by Mr Gillham for his injuries.  Although the 1974 Act does not of itself give rise to civil liability, the Regulations introduced under the Act, from which various European Directives were implemented, will provide the allegations from which his claim can be pursued.  Once negligence and breach of duty are proven, damages for the injury and financial losses, including future losses and care needs, will flow.

Tracey Graham is a Principal Lawyer in Personal Injury in the Manchester office of Slater and Gordon. If you or a member of your family has suffered an accident or injury call our expert personal injury solicitors on 0800 916 9046, fill in our short online claim form or email and one of our specialist personal injury team will review your compensation claim for free.