Building firm sentenced after employee falls to death

by Alex on April 16, 2013

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HSE are reporting another corporate manslaughter case:

A building firm and one of its directors have been sentenced after an employee fell 15 metres to his death in an empty water storage tank in Macclesfield.

A HSE investigation found the workers had not been given sufficient information or a risk assessment for the job, and were not given any advice about working above the storage tank by their employer.

The director with day-to-day responsibility for running the company, visited the site the day before the incident and saw both men working over the exposed openings in the tank. However, he took no action to put safety measures in place.

The director of company in question pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of workers and due to fines had to put said company into administration.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Kevin Jones said:

“Peter Halligan sadly lost his life because his employer didn’t give any thought to his safety as he worked above a 15-metre deep tank.

“There were several ways the work could have been carried out safely, such as using a harness, installing a guardrail around the opening, or providing temporary covers. However, Galt Civil Engineering and Peter Stuart chose none of these.

“This case shows how health and safety when working at height doesn’t just affect work being carried out at the top of buildings. The risks are just as great at lower levels if there’s the potential for someone to fall a distance likely to cause serious injury.”

Falls from height are the biggest cause of workplace deaths in the construction industry.

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