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International Engineering Company in Court over workers death

17 November 2016

An international engineering company has been sentenced following the death of a worker who fell 30 feet from an electricity pylon.

Vincent John Richards, 49, from Walsall was installing fall arrest lines for painters to use on the pylon at Great Orton, Carlisle on the 5 July 2014 when the incident happened.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and prosecuted Bilfinger Industrial Services (UK) Limited for serious safety failings.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that Mr Richards who was employed by the company as a “Rigger”, had been working with a colleague preparing the pylons in readiness for painters to carry out maintenance work. On the morning of the incident, Mr Richards arrived at pylon FT37 and found that the painters had already commenced painting even though the pylon had not been rigged.  Mr Richards had climbed approximately 30ft up the pylon, when he fell backwards, narrowly missing one of the painters working directly below him. As a result of the fall, Mr Richards sustained serious multiple injuries and died at the scene.

The HSE investigation found a number of failings by Bilfinger Industrial Services (UK) Limited in the management of risks arising from work at height. Although the company had a system of work they failed to implement, monitor and enforce this system. This failing exposed their employees to the risk of death.

Bilfinger Industrial Services (UK) Limited of Tudor Road, Manor Park, Runcorn today   (17 November 2016) pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £200.000 and ordered to pay costs of £59,320.10

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Susan Ritchie said: “The company were clearly aware of the hazards involved with pylon work and had a system in place to manage the risks. Unfortunately they failed to implement, monitor and enforce this system of work. In addition they failed to ensure the proper inspection and provision of safety critical personal protective equipment.

For more information on fall arrest equipment go to:

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at:
  3. Further HSE news releases are available at



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