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Construction worker killed when crane overturned

A construction company and its managing director have been sentenced after a father-of-two was crushed to death when a crane overturned in Liverpool.

Richard Mark Thornton, 46, from Longridge near Preston, died when a 50-tonne crane toppled over while moving a steel column in March 2007.

Mr Thornton's employer and the managing director of the company were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for failing to make sure the work was planned and carried out safely.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the crane had been used to lift the six-tonne steel column when it was nearly 18 metres away, taking it well outside its safe lifting capacity for that distance.

The HSE investigation found the crane had not been properly maintained and the external alarm could not be heard by those working nearby. The override switches were also faulty, including the switch that prevented the crane lifting loads beyond its capacity.

The managing director was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £18,478 in prosecution costs. 

Mr Thornton was one of 79 construction workers to be killed while at work in Great Britain in 2006/7. There were also nearly 4,500 major injuries reported to HSE.


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