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    GROUNDWORKER LEFT PARALYSED BY FALLING PIPE

    Gas infrastructure business failed to maintain safe system of work

    Forefront Utilities Limited, an Essex company specialising in gas infrastructure works, has been fined £200,000 after an employee was left paralysed when a pipe fell into the excavation in which he was working in May 2014.

    Maidstone Crown Court heard how the company employee entered the trench on a project in Rochester, Kent to connect gas pipes. The new pipes were set down on packing timber across the trench.
    The weight of the pipes caused the tarmac to give way causing the a pipe to fall into the trench striking the employee causing significant injury including a fractured spine. He is now paralysed and has no feeling in his bowel.

    Workers must be instructed in safe system of working

    HSE investigators  found the method for jointing newly laid sections of pipe to previously laid pipe was unsafe.

    Forefront Utilities Limited, of Stephenson Road, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, were found guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £56,686.

    After the hearing HSE inspector Andrew Cousins said:

    “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.

    If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

     

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