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MAJOR TELECOMMS BUSINESS FACES £1/2m IN FINES AND COSTS

Fatal fall caused by failure to ensure appropriate access equipment was used

British Telecommunications Plc (BT) has been fined £300,000 following the death of a worker who fell from a ladder while carrying out installation works.

Power construction engineer David Askew suffered fatal head injuries after falling from a wooden ladder at a London Telephone Exchange in October 2006.

Mr Askew was installing distribution boards and running cabling as part of his work and would have been working at a height of more than 4m. He fell from a nine-step wooden ladder and sustained a serious head injury. He died 18 days later.

Work at height not properly planned

HSE investigators revealed that a failure to ensure the work at height was properly planned and that Mr Askew was not provided with suitable access equipment for work at height.

Two wooden ladders found at the scene had not been subject to the annual inspection required by the BT safety arrangement.

Nicola Maisuria, HSE inspector, said:

“The fact that this incident was entirely avoidable makes Mr Askew’s death all the more tragic. The dangers posed by work at height are well known, yet BT failed to create the conditions to ensure this task was carried out safely and the appropriate access equipment was used.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure that work at height is properly planned and organised.”

BT were found guilty of breaching HSW Act Ssection 2(1) and were fined £300,000 and were ordered to pay proscution costs of £196,150.

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