Corus pleaded guilty to a breach of s2(1) HSW Act in failing to ensure its employees’ safety, after a falling crane block fatally crushed an employee on site at an engineering workshop in Rotherham.

A crane operator had been traversing an overhead crane and block using a remote control pack. The block fell when a limit switch in the pack failed. This had been designed to break power to the hoist motor if the block was hoisted too far.

Corus admitted a charge of failing to maintain the limit switch which was found to have become progressively defective, thus exposing failures in the maintenance system. Corus have now rectified the problem through introduction of a formal checking procedure.

The judge imposed a fine of £170k plus costs of £30k. This was the ninth Health & Safety conviction of the company over the past five years, and the second in two months relating to a fatality.