Companies fined after employee fractures leg at reservoir

A contractor and a water management company have been fined after a worker was injured when he was hit by a 1.5 tonne water valve.

Newcastle upon Tyne Magistrates’ Court heard that on 5 June 2018, Northumbrian Water Limited had contracted JW Colpitts & Co Limited to connect a 1.5 tonne water valve in a confined chamber at Kielder Reservoir, Northumberland. The valve was suspended from a lorry mounted crane when it swung across the chamber and struck the worker. He sustained an open compound fracture of his tibia and fibula and was airlifted to hospital.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that both companies had failed to risk assess the work and the additional hazards introduced by a change in the scope of work. They failed to implement suitable safety measures and safe systems of work; and provide adequate supervision to the workers.

Northumbrian Water Limited of Northumbria House, Abbey Road, Pity Me, Durham pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £365,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,360.69 and a victim surcharge of £120.00.

JW Colpitts & Co Limited of John Anderson House, Coniston Road, Blyth Riverside Industrial Estate, Blyth pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 etc. They were fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,452.22 and a victim surcharge of £120.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Clare Maltby said: “Companies must understand that work activities involving confined spaces, work at height and lifting operations must be subject to a robust risk assessment. Furthermore, risk assessments should be reviewed if the scope of work changes and additional hazards are introduced.

“Companies must also ensure that they have suitable safety control measures and safe systems of work in place to address the identified risks. Appropriate arrangements should be in place to supervise and monitor work.”

HSE
06 January 2022

What we think

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 places a duty on Employers to prepare a Risk Assessment and record in writing the significant findings of the risk assessement, where the Company employs five or more people. A risk assessment will not only identify the Hazards that exist but it will also highlight the control measures that need to be put in place. These controls are likely to list the equipment that will be used and the need for using Competent Operatives to complete the task. A good risk assessment will include much more and it must be shared with the employees completing the work.

Employers must also ensure Risk Assessments are regularly reviewed. As well as the passage of time, changes in work processes, the introduction of new technolgy and changes in personnel are all good reasons to review existing Risk Assessments.

How we can help

Wiser Safety can develop a Working at Height Safe System of Work or we can provide a Risk Assessment to suit your requirements. We can also train your workforce so they are able to work safely at height.

Training can either be delivered in-person, in a classroom environment with practical elements or we can provide eLearning training. We have cost effective training solutions to suit your training needs and budget. See all our courses

Contact us now to discuss a workable solution. Please feel free to call us on 01732 446503 or message us