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Crane Hire Company is sentenced for Corporate Manslaughter


Baldwins Crane Hire Ltd. has today, 22 December, been sentenced to a fine of £700, 000 at Preston Crown Court after being found guilty of corporate manslaughter and health and safety offences. It was also ordered to pay all CPS costs and half of the Health and Safety Executive's costs. The conviction followed the death of one of their employees, Lindsay Easton, in 2011.

Mr Easton was employed by the company as a crane operator.  At the time of his death he was driving a 16 wheel, 130 tonne crane down an access road to Scout Moor quarry and wind farm Edenfield, Lancashire.  The crane had been brought to the site to replace another crane which had broken down. As he drove the crane down the access road it crashed after failing to negotiate a steep bend. Mr Easton was killed in the collision.

Following an investigation the crash was found to have been caused by serious problems with the braking system of the crane, which had not been properly maintained. The crane was fitted with four separate auxiliary braking systems in addition to the ordinary footbrake. Three of the auxiliary braking systems had been disconnected altogether and the fourth was damaged. There were also serious faults with the main braking system, with no operable brakes at all on seven wheels and faults or excessive wear to the remaining nine.  Baldwins Crane Hire Ltd were responsible for these failings.

A CPS spokesperson said:  "The company had a duty of care to its employees to maintain the crane to ensure it was safe and roadworthy. This hadn't happened. The jury also found that the company had put other road users at risk due to poor maintenance of its vehicles.

"Following further investigations of the company's fleet several cranes were found to have faults with their brakes or other operating systems.  Had the company serviced and maintained the vehicles, this accident would never have happened. Mr Easton put his safety in the hands of his employer and they failed him."


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