The overloaded crane fell over during construction of a nursing home in Gillingham three years ago with the fully-extended 50m jib crashing down across the site.
Weymouth Magistrates court heard the crane was supplied and operated by South Coast Crane Hire but confusion arose as to whether the job was a crane hire only or contract hire, where planning of the lifting operation is included.
This resulted in planning of the lift being neglected by both the hirer and principal contractor JR Pickstock. Important information including the weights being lifted and ground conditions were not passed on to the workers involved.
A Health and Safety Executive probe found the lift itself was carried out unsafely as the crane was overloaded and being operated on poor ground.
HSE said a larger crane should have been used and ground mats were needed to spread the load of the crane’s outriggers due to the poor ground conditions.
South Coast Crane Hire was fined £20,000 for breaching LOLER regulations and JR Pickstock fined £10,000 for breaching CDM rules.
Both firms pleaded guilty and were each ordered to pay nearly £15,000 in costs.
HSE inspector Kathy Gostick said: “This incident could have led to death and serious injury and was a direct result of a catalogue of failures by two construction companies.
“Had it been clearly established by both South Coast Crane Hire and JR Pickstock who was responsible for planning the lift when the lift hire contract was set up is highly unlikely that the crane would have overturned putting a number of workers and people on the road at unnecessary risk.”