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DIRECTOR FINED £30K OVER FATAL TANK TOP FALL

Company director held to account for his inaction over observed risk

Galt Civil Engineering Ltd and director Peter Stuart have been prosecuted following the death of a workman who fell 15m in an empty water storage tank in August 2008.

Liverpool Crown Court heard (8 April 2013) that 45-year-old Peter Halligan and a colleague were constructing brick manhole chambers above the circular 7.5m diameter tank which was installed to collect flood water.

The colleague of Mr Halligan went to collect a saw and when he turned back he could no longer see Mr Halligan whose body was found at the bottom of the storage tank. HSE investigators found that sufficient information had been provided to the workmen and that the job was not subject to a suitable risk assessment.

Director Peter Stuart visited the site the day before the incident and observed both men working over the exposed openings in the tank. He took no action to put safety measures in place.

Several ways the work could have been carried out safely

Galt Civil Engineering Ltd, which is in administration, and Peter Stuart pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of workers.

Galt Civil Engineering Ltd, of Manchester Road in Wilmslow, received a nominal fine of £50 and was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £24,974. Peter Stuart, of Delph Lane in Chorley, was fined £30,000 with no costs.

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.”

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One Response to “DIRECTOR FINED £30K OVER FATAL TANK TOP FALL”

  1. HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 24th APRIL 2013 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] DIRECTOR FINED £30K OVER FATAL TANK TOP FALL […]