Grandfather killed in fall as cherry picker collapses

Grant Prior 12 years ago

Amey and Mouchel Parkman have been fined a total of £60,000 after a worker died during a fall from a cherry picker on a dual carriageway in Liverpool.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Peter Cole, from Lymm in Cheshire, had been replacing the lights on the central reservation when the cherry picker’s lifting arm collapsed.

The 61-year-old, who was married with three children and three grandchildren, fell nearly eight metres and landed on the back of the vehicle. He died from his injuries in hospital later that day.

Cole was employed by Amey Infrastructure Services Ltd, part of the Amey Mouchel joint venture with Mouchel Parkman Services Ltd.

The HSE investigation found neither company had adequate systems for checking and maintaining the cherry picker, both when it was first delivered or throughout the hire period.

The cherry picker needed to be repaired on several occasions while it was on hire to the companies, and had been subjected to heavy use in all weather conditions for almost a decade.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Cole’s brother, Len, 71, from Lydiate in Merseyside, said: “His death has destroyed the lives of his whole family.

“Peter and I were totally different characters but we got on great together. He was my closest friend as well as my brother.

“Everyone had a good word for Peter and he was well respected and liked. He was a decent man and would have trusted that the cherry picker was safe when he climbed into it.

“It’s unbelievable that it wasn’t regularly checked and tested, and instead was just put out into use. It happened to be him in that cherry picker on that day but it could have been anyone. We all miss him so much.”

Investigating inspector at HSE, Dave Guyers, added: “Heavy usage and a regular repair record demand that checking and maintenance procedures are carried out thoroughly. This is vital with cherry pickers which place users at great risk when working at height.

“All companies must have effective checking and maintenance systems in place and act upon the findings from them.

“Ageing machinery should be maintained properly and responsibly – not doing so increases the likelihood of this sort of incident.”

Amey Infrastructure pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £32,500 in prosecution costs.

Mouchel Parkman also pleaded guilty and was fined £30,000 with costs of £32,500.

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