A company’s safety failings led to the death of an employee who fell from a mobile elevated working platform (MEWP) as it toppled over, a court has been told.
Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard how Leslie Watson was working for SW Global Resourcing Limited at the Annick Water Viaduct in Stewarton, Ayrshire on 13 April 2010 when he tragically died.
The firm was prosecuted and admitted breaching two sections of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, for which it was fined a total of £200,000.
Prior to the sentencing the court was told SW Global Resourcing Limited was capping and grouting rods that had been put across the viaduct arches to strengthen the structure.
Lack of edge protection
The MEWPs its employees were using were resting on plinths made of concrete to keep them level above sloping ground, but they had no edge protection or end stops to prevent them coming off, the court heard.
Mr Watson was in a basket lifted some 13 metres high by one of the MEWPs when the machine went off the edge of the plinth and tipped over.
He fell against a column on the viaduct down to the shallow river below and did not survive his injuries, the court was told.
The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the system of work on the project was unsafe and SW Global Resourcing Limited had not risk assessed the work properly.
The tragedy might not have occurred if the firm had installed edge protection on the plinths or used other reasonable safety measures for working at height, the court heard.
Mr Watson died because the company failed to ensure its workers were safe during the work on the viaduct, according to the head of the COPFS Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service Health and Safety Division Gary Aitken.
Work accident avoidable
He said the work accident and the devastation caused by it could have been avoided and he highlighted the need for firms to make the health and safety of their staff top priority.
If you have been injured in an accident at work, contact Accident Advice Helpline to see whether you could make a personal injury claim for compensation.
Date Published: September 18, 2014
Author: David Brown