Devonport fined £600,000 for crane near-miss

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Crew and Royal Artilery soldiers pose on HMS Vanguard in dry dock at Devonport. Image credit: MOD

In August Devonport Royal Dockyard Ltd (DRDL) were fined £666,667 plus costs of £27,611 for breaches of crane regulations over an incident where a stack of crane weights narrowly missed a worker. The prosecution was brought by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), who are responsible for conventional Health and Safety as well as nuclear safety at nuclear licensed sites. During a hearing in July, DRDL pleaded guilty to the charge.

During the incident, in September 2018, a stack of crane test weights became detached and fell towards a worker who had to jump out of the way. In a statement, ONR said the worker “narrowly escaped serious injury”. A video of the incident can be seen on the BBC website.

The incident followed a series of crane safety failures over a five week period in May and June 2017, which culminated in ONR issuing a safety improvement notice to DRDL. The notice was considered closed in December 2017. DRDL remains under enhanced regulatory attention from the ONR and has a safety improvement plan in place which is intended to move them into ordinary regulatory attention.