A PORTLAND firm has been fined £10,000 after an 80-tonne crane toppled over and narrowly missed workmen.

Weymouth Magistrates’ Court heard that a failure in communications caused the crane, owned by South Coast Crane Hire on Portland, to fall close to a busy road in Gillingham.

The incident happened on a building site in Fernbrook Road on August 18, 2009 when a nursing home was being built.

In the prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), South Coast Crane Hire Ltd and the principal contractors, JR Pickstock Ltd, appeared in court.

South Coast Crane Hire Ltd, of Tradecroft Industrial Estate, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1)c of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £14,917 in costs.

The court heard confusion arose about whether the job had been set up as a crane hire only or contract hire basis, where planning of the lifting operation is included.

HSE’s investigation found the crane was overloaded and operated on poor ground and as a result, it overturned and its extended 50-metre jib fell across the site, narrowly missing the workers.

JR Pickstock Ltd admitted breaching Regulation 23(1)a of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £16,000 and also ordered to pay £14,917 in costs.