Two workers cheat death after plummeting nine storeys


Two workers narrowly escaped death when the faulty access cradle they were in plummeted 90 feet to the ground from the residential tower they were working on.  

Pennington Street building, in London. Credit: Health and Safety Executive.

Mr Marcel Botnaru suffered six broken ribs and a punctured lung and Mr Radu Baracu was off work for six weeks after the pair fell nine floors of the Pennington Street building, in London, on 4 June 2020. 

An investigation found the support beams for the cradle had been fitted with the wrong sized end stops, resulting in it rolling off and crashing to the ground. 

Pennington Street building, in London. Credit: Health and Safety Executive.

Two construction access companies, Zarafa Height Solutions Limited and Giraffe Access Company Limited, part of the Zarafa Group, were fined £240,000 during sentencing at Croydon Magistrates’ Court, on Friday 10 November, having both pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act. 

The court heard how Zarafa Height Solutions had failed to ensure the support beams it manufactured were safe when they left its factory in Grantham. 

The Health and Safety Executive also found Giraffe Access, which installed the cradle and support beams at the London Dock site, had failed to identify they were defective during safety checks prior to commissioning. 

Zarafa Height Solutions Limited was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,987.  

Giraffe Access Company Limited was also fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,996. 

“This incident could have ended in a double tragedy,” said HSE inspector, Kevin Smith. “Both of these men suffered injuries but were fortunate to escape with their lives. 

“The fines imposed on these two companies should underline to everyone in the construction industry the importance of ensuring that rigorous safety checks are carried out on equipment before it is put to use. 

“We will not hesitate to take action against companies which do not do all that they should to keep people safe.” 

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