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MAJOR WATER COMPANY FACE DOUBLE PROSECUTION

Fall uncovers machinery guarding failures by water company

 

A water services company and sub-contractor have been prosecuted after a technician fell through the roof of a pumping station in Cambridgeshire.

His fall through a fragile rooflight also revealed machinery guarding offences by the water company. 

Fall through unmarked rooflight

IETG Ltd, of Leeds were found guilty of failing to ensure the safety of people working near unmarked fragile skylights and ordered to pay almost £5k in fines and prosecution costs.

The injured technician fractured a vertebra in his back following the fall through an unmarked fragile roof light whilst taking a reading from a rain gauge.

Anglian Water Services Ltd of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, admitted breaching HSW Act 1974 Section 3(1)after failing to identify the risks associated with working near the unmarked fragile skylights.

The company was fined £4k and ordered to pay over £3k in costs.

Guards found missing and interlocks not working

While investigating the fall HSE inspectors found problems with the safety of a number of machines at Anglian Water Service’s sewage treatment plant in Ely.

Guards to protect workers from dangerous moving parts were missing on some machines. In addition, some interlocking devices, designed to isolate power from the machines, were not working properly.

Machines could automatically start up when the guards were open.

The company was ordered to pay a further £18k in fines and prosection costs in relation to the machinery offences.

Employers must plan ahead and assess potential risks

HSE Inspector Penny Leede said:

“Incidents like Mr Morgan’s fall are entirely avoidable. Falling from height is one of the most obvious and well-known dangers for those working on roofs.

“Unfortunately, Mr Morgan is not alone. More than 4,000 British employees suffered serious injury after falling from height in 2008/09. Employers need to plan ahead and assess potential risks before carrying out any work at height.

“Proper safety guards and the isolation of power from exposed machinery play an important role in protecting workers from dangerous moving parts. HSE will continue to prosecute companies that fail to carry out their duties.”

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