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Maximum jail term for plant hire manager following fatal incident


The 57-year-old manager of an access plant hire firm has been sentenced to a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment for his neglect of health and safety obligations that led to the death of one man and caused serious injury to another.

After a 16 day trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court, Donald Craig was found guilty of a breach of health and safety legislation.




It was heard how on 20 June 2012, Gary Currie, a safety net rigger, and Alexander Nisbet, a self-employed operator contracted by Craig Services, were in the basket of the platform removing netting from the facade of the Buchanan House office block at Port Dundas Road in Glasgow city centre when the third main boom section buckled causing the platform’s basket to fall 28 metres (approx. 92 feet) to the ground, with the result that Alexander Nisbet was seriously injured and Gary Currie suffered fatal injuries.


The fatal incident followed an earlier event, in May 2011, involving the platform after which Craig Services & Access Limited had instructed a repair to the damaged section of the main boom. The repair had been incorrectly carried out and J M Access Solutions Ltd subsequently failed in their duty to carry out an adequate thorough examination of the platform.



Donald Craig was convicted of health and safety breaches. He was jailed for two years – the maximum penalty possible.

Hamilton based Craig Services and Access Limited was fined after being found guilty of three charges relating to the collapse, including failures in relation to its maintenance and was fined a total of £61,000.


Another company, J M Access Solutions Ltd, was fined £30,000 for its failure to carry out a systematic and detailed thorough examination of the platform and its safety-critical parts.


Gary Aitken, Head of Health and Safety Division said: “This incident, which resulted in the death of Gary Currie and caused serious injury to Alexander Nisbet, could have been avoided had Donald Craig and Craig Services & Access Limited heeded advice and taken measures to maintain the platform in a safe condition.


“At the centre of this all was the decision to instruct this repair. It was a decision that left Gary Currie and Alexander Nisbet exposed to an unacceptable risk and was essentially an accident waiting to happen. A MEWP is a safety critical piece of equipment and it was highly foreseeable that such a repair would risk the lives of those using the equipment. This incident has left family and friends devastated at the loss of a loved one. Hopefully this prosecution will remind other employers that failure to fulfil their obligations can have tragic consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings.”


In Court

Articles sourced via the IOSH, HSE and SHP websites.

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