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Company fined after worker fell from water treatment vessel

Date:
25 July 2017

A Water treatment system manufacturer has been sentenced after a worker sustained head and arm injuries after falling 3.5 metres from a water treatment tank.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard that on 11 November 2015 the injured person, who was employed by Icon Process Systems Ltd, was performing welding work on top of a large water treatment vessel, some 3.5 meters in diameter. In order to access the top of the vessel the employee used a ladder. The ladder was not tied and as the employee turned to climb down from the vessel his ladder slipped and fell, causing him to fall from the top of the vessel. The employee was knocked unconscious and sustained bruising to the brain, as well as breaking his left wrist in several places.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Icon Process Systems Ltd should have properly prepared for the work.  Proper planning would have identified the dangers of falls, and allowed the company to provide suitable work equipment, including platforms with guard rails and suitable access.  The company should have identified the need to train and instruct their staff in the safe way to work.

Icon Process Systems Ltd of Station Lane Old Whittington Chesterfield pleaded guilty of being in breach of Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005, which requires employers to ensure that all work at height is properly planned, apporpriately supervised, and carried out in a safe manner.  It was also in breach of Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which require employers to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks from their work activities. The company was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Emma Madeley said “The contractor’s injuries were significant and he could have easily been killed. Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

“Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working, provide proper equipment 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, these serious injuries could have been avoided.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 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. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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