Crane Hire firm guilty of causing death of employee

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court

A Crane Hire firm has been found guilty of causing the death of an employee by failing to maintain its fleet.

Lindsay Easton, 49, a driver with Baldwin’s Crane Hire, died when the braking systems on the 130 tonne crane he was operating failed as he carried out work to a wind turbine site in Lancashire.

On August 15 2011 Mr Easton, of Sowerby Bridge, Halifax, was driving the 130 tonne crane down a steep road away from the wind farm at Scout Moor when the vehicle collided with a bank.

During an HSE investigation following the accident it emerged a number of the crane’s engine braking systems were disconnected, broken or not fully functional.

Seven if the vehicle’s 16 wheel brakes were not functional and the other nine were worn or damaged.

Following a five week trial at Preston Crown Court the firm was found guilty of corporate manslaughter and to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

DS John McNamara, of Lancashire Police, said: “There was a lack of organised preventative maintenance and as such Mr Easton sadly lost his life.”

Following Mr Easton’s death the firm was issued with an improvement notice after it emerged a considerable number of the firm’s crane fleet had inadequate brakes.

DS McNamara said: “There was a lack of proper maintenance and through that and organisational failings Mr Easton lost his life.

“Everybody that goes to work has an expectation that they will return home safe and well and their employer will keep them safe to the best of their ability.

“Unfortunately Baldwin’s did not take that responsibility seriously enough.”

The firm will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on December 22.