Take two as crane hook smashes roof

PUBLISHED: 10:33 06 September 2012

The McCarthy & Stone development on South Road where the incident happened.

The McCarthy & Stone development on South Road where the incident happened.

Archant

THE safety of a ‘jinxed’ building site is under investigation after a hook from a crane broke off and crashed through the roof of a building.

It is the SECOND time that a crane on the Saffron Walden site has broken and caused safety concerns. A similar incident forced families to be evacuated from their homes two days before Christmas last year when the jib and hoist of an 80ft tower crane fell onto a garage below.

The latest scare, involving a hired Bronzeshield mobile crane, happened around 2.30pm on Tuesday at a construction site on South Road. Developer McCarthy & Stone, which is building 27 residential apartments, confirmed that one of its employees had suffered minor injuries and said the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had been informed. The firm added that no members of the public were at risk.

Inspectors from the HSE were on site yesterday (Wednesday) making initial equiries. Asked by the Reporter whether this type of incident was common on construction sites, a spokesman for the HSE said “no”.

Nearby residents reported hearing an “almighty crash” when the hook smashed through the roof of one of the apartment buildings.

Norman Vinney, 69, of Victoria Avenue, told the Reporter it was lucky no-one was killed, adding that the site was “jinxed”.

“I heard this loud bang and when I went into my back garden people were shouting ‘Is everyone alright?’ ‘Is anyone hurt?’ And then I saw the hole in the roof – it’s done an awful lot of damage.

“One of the plasterers told me the hook had come off and gone through the roof and the floor. He said ‘you want to see the mess it’s made.’”

Barry Trotman, an agency labourer and gatesman working on another site adjacent to the McCarthy & Stone development, said one of the construction workers had injured his arm in the incident.

“He couldn’t drive when he came out so I think it was pretty serious. The guy was on the roof when the hook fell and he jumped out of the way to avoid it.

“He fell on some scaffolding and hurt his arm – even if he hadn’t jumped the sheer force of the impact would have thrown him into the scaffolding anyway.”

A spokesman for McCarthy & Stone said: “We regret to confirm that an incident involving a hired mobile crane occurred while in use at our Saffron Walden development. The incident occurred on-site and no members of the public were at risk at any point.

“We are liaising with the hire company’s safety officers, and both an internal and independent investigation have commenced. We are unable to comment on the causes of this incident until these are complete.

“We take safety seriously and it is a matter of great regret that one of our team is believed to have suffered minor injuries. It is routine to notify the HSE, which we have done.”

An HSE investigation into the December incident is still ongoing.

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