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CONSTRUCTION DIVING FATALITY PROSECUTION

Three parties to pay almost £200k after construction diver death

British Waterways, of Watford, Sea Technical Services Limited (STS), of Botley, Hampshire and Christopher Robert Drake (a diving supervisor) have been ordered to pay almost £200k in fines and prosecution costs following a diving fatality in Gloucestershire on 15 October 2004.

The prosecutions follow an incident in which construction diver, David Moore (29) was fatally injured at Upper Lode Lock, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.

While Mr Moore was involved in construction work on the upstream side of a temporary dam, a seal at the bottom holding back the water failed and he was sucked against the wall of the dam because of the immense pressure. The force prevented him from breathing or from being pulled to safety by colleagues. 

HSE Diving Inspector, Pete Sieniewicz said: “This case has highlighted the serious hazard of differential pressure to divers, especially to those working on construction projects. The importance of planning and managing major projects – such as the one in this case – cannot be emphasised enough. It is not good enough to make decisions on the hoof or try and deal with a problem as things start to go wrong. 

“The problem of differential pressure highlighted by this case is so important that we are about to publish health and safety guidance to the diving industry, based on research in this area. Hopefully, this will help to reinforce our safety message to the industry as a whole and prevent further tragic incidents of this kind.”

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