From Cradle To Nearly A Grave

Two men working in a cradle on a London residential tower, with a front elevation being constructed with windows and sliding doors, have cheated an early grave when it fell nine floors.

On 4 June 2020, Marcel Botnaru and Radu Baracu were working in the cradle at the Pennington Street building. The support beams for the cradle had been fitted with the wrong sized end stops, which resulted in it rolling off the end and crashing to the ground below.

Mr Botnaru suffered six broken ribs and a punctured lung while Mr Baracu was off work for six weeks. Both were extremely fortunate to escape more serious and potentially life-threatening injuries – and of course, death. Their falls was approximately 90ft.



Two companies, which specialise in the provision and installation of access equipment, were fined a total of £240,000 when they were sentenced at Croydon Magistrates Court on 10 November 2023.

The court heard how an investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (found that Zarafa Height Solutions Limited failed to ensure that the support beams it manufactured were safe to use when they left its factory in Grantham. A second company, Giraffe Access Company Limited, which installed the cradle and support beams at the London Dock site failed to identify that they were defective during their safety checks prior to commissioning.

Both companies of Hungate, Pickering, North Yorkshire, are part of the Zarafa Group and pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act.

Zarafa Height Solutions Limited was fined £120,000 and was ordered to pay £3,987 costs and Giraffe Access Company Limited was fined £120,000 and was ordered to pay £3,996 costs.


The importance of checks

After the hearing, HSE inspector Kevin Smith said: “Both of these men suffered injuries but were fortunate to escape with their lives.

“The fines imposed on these two companies should underline to everyone in the construction industry the importance of ensuring that rigorous safety checks are carried out on equipment before it is put to use.”




Picture: Two men were in this cradle when it fell approximately 90ft.

Article written by Cathryn Ellis
15th November 2023


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