£250,000 fine after ignoring order to get lifting equipment checked

Please note: The story below might not be the final outcome of this case. A legal question has been raised about whether February's harsher guidelines for fines in health & safety cases should have been applied on this occasion.


Harsher health & safety fine guidelines introduced in February are impacting. A company in Wrexham has been fined £250,000 for failing to get its lifting equipment examined and ignoring legal notices to do so.

It was not a stone company, but the severity of the fine should act as a warning to stone companies to make sure their gantries, pillar cranes and forklift lifting gear is checked before it is used and serviced at least once a year – especially following the £100,000 fine of a company after a worker was hurt when a slab of marble fell from a forklift grab (read more about that here).

The £250,000 fine was imposed by Wrexham Magistrates’ Court this month (7 June). The court heard that between 4 April 2014 and 28 August 2015, GHA Coaches Ltd failed to have its lifting equipment thoroughly examined within the required timescales to ensure that health & safety conditions were maintained and that any deterioration could be detected and remedied in good time.

In 2015, an inspection revealed overdue Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) examinations on at least 14 items. An improvement notice was served. The deadline for its compliance was extended twice but still resulted in a failure to comply.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that a previous improvement notice had been served in 2011.

GHA Coaches Ltd, of Vauxhall Industrial Estate, Ruabon, Wrexham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(3)(a)(ii) of the Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) and failing to comply with an Improvement Notice. It was fined a total of £250,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,068.

For further information on lifting equipment click here.