Death-fall rig 'lacked safety pin'

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The Independent Online
A Severn Bridge maintenance gantry was known to be dangerous long before two workmen plunged to their deaths, a Bristol Crown Court was told yesterday.

The 38-ton gantry lacked a fail-safe device that would show whether it was secure or not. Two workmen died after plummeting 100 feet because vital safety pins on the gantry were not in place, the court was told.

Robin Phelps, 44, and Eric Sullivan, 46, died after the gantry fell in September 1990. Mark Seaton, 21 also plunged into the estuary below, but survived.

It is alleged that four companies involved in the maintenence work had breached the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act.

The case continues.