Chelmsford Crown Court heard that the 44-year-old Mr de Oliveira was working for Bouygues through an agency as a banksman. He was fixing beams across supporting towers to form part of the concrete structure for a new building. The beams were lifted from ground level to the work area by a tower crane.
After climbing the support towers to unhook the lifting chains and with the beam in position, huge gusts of wind forced the crane breaks to slip, allowing the crane to rotate and swing its load into the exposed worker.
Each of the on-site cranes were fitted with an anemometer (used to measure wind) which would have produced an amber warning at 50 kilometres an hour and a red warning at 72km/h. Winds were above the red warning levels at the time of death.
Managers were able to monitor wind speeds from the site office but were not at the time, however on-site arrangements did permit crane operators to check their own wind speed displays.
The Health and Safety Executive’s investigation concluded that there was inadequate supervision of the work, stating that a proper procedure could have ultimately prevented the fatality.
Though the judge was not satisfied that company failings were a direct cause for the death, he said there was a systemic failure which made risk of serious injury foreseeable.