Two construction companies deny charges of endangering lives… In July 2009 a 200-tonne crane collapsed on to an apartment block in the Chandlers Wharf area of Liverpool city centre leaving one man paralysed.
Two construction companies are facing charges of serious breaches to health and safety laws as a result of the incident but both have denied the charges in relation to the collapse of the crane and the subsequent damage caused by the collapse.
The crane operator was thrown from the crane after it toppled and the impact of his fall caused him to suffer a brain haemorrhage a fractured skull, fractures to his spine and a broken shoulder. The most serious consequence of the accident for him however was that he remains paralyzed from the waist down to this day.
The crane was being used used as part of a construction project to build a new hotel and flats at Kings Dock Mill in Tabley Street – the crane itself was so large that when it fell it actually landed on a nearby apartment block that had already been built. Following the crane collapse, more than 100 residents of the affected apartment block had to be temporarily relocated while the area was made secure.
A HSE investigation determined that the cause of the accident was the crane’s counter-balance becoming embedded in the four story-building causing it to malfunction and in turn making the crane unstable. After being flung from the crane the 55 year-old accident victim landed on the roof of the building and had to be rescued from there before his life-threatening injuries could be treated.
Liverpool Crown Court is currently hearing the case where the two construction firms involved, a Derbyshire-based construction firm and a construction engineering firm from Liverpool both deny breaches of health and safety regulations. The two firms have pleaded not guilty to endangering the lives of their own employees and endangering the lives of the local residents. The trial is expected to last three weeks.