Crane firm to be charged with corporate manslaughter

The Crown Prosecution Service has charged Baldwins Crane Hire with corporate manslaughter following the death of crane driver Lindsay Easton in Rossendale in 2011.

On 15 August 2011, Easton was driving a heavy crane down a steep road away from a wind farm at Scout Moor in Lancashire. During this journey, it is alleged that the brakes failed. The crane crashed into an earth bank and fell from the road. The company had been carrying out work on wind turbines in the area.

Jane Wragg, specialist prosecutor in the special crime and counter terrorism division of the CPS, said: "I have carefully reviewed the evidence gathered by Lancashire Police and the Health & Safety Executive during their investigation into the tragic death of Lindsay Easton. I have concluded that Baldwins Crane Hire Limited should be charged with an offence of corporate manslaughter.

"I have also concluded that there is sufficient evidence to charge the company Baldwins Crane Hire Limited with offences under Section 2 and Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

"These decisions were taken in accordance with the Code of Crown Prosecutors. We have decided there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest."

The first hearing will take place at Burnley Magistrates Court on a date yet to be determined.

The charges are as follows:

  • Baldwins Crane Hire, because of the way in which the organisation's activities were managed or organised, caused the death of a person, namely Lindsay Easton
  • Baldwins Crane Hire failed to secure the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees including Lindsay Easton
  • Baldwins Crane Hire failed to ensure that persons not in its employment who may be affected were not exposed to risks to their health and safety

Baldwins declined to comment.

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