A Cambridgeshire water supplier has been fined after three employees suffered injuries in falls from height.
Two of the Anglian Water Services Limited (AWSL) employees, aged 27 and 53, were injured at the company’s water recycling centre in Dunstable on 21 October, 2013. The other, aged 56, was injured at its centre in Saffron Walden on 6 February 2014.
The second incident took place as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was investigating the first.
In the first incident, the two men were carrying out maintenance repair work on two submerged pumps in the wet well.
One was standing on metal grids above the well, having used a block and tackle to lower the refurbished pump into position, while the other was at the bottom of the well, installing the refurbished pump.
The metal grid gave way, causing the worker on it to fall three metres into the well. He sustained two broken ribs, a fractured shoulder blade, a punctured lung, severe bruising and a deep cut to his head.
His co-worker was struck by the falling grid. He suffered a severe laceration to his left buttock, bruising, stress and recurring nightmares.
In the second incident, the worker fell three metres into a well after a well cover gave way when he stepped on it.
The well began rapidly filling with dirty water, but there was no ladder or other means of escape, so the man had to call for help, and was rescued by a contractor who had been working elsewhere on the site.
He sustained minor physical injuries but needed treatment for post traumatic stress disorder. He also suffered from recurring nightmares.
Anglian Water Services Limited, of Lancaster Way, Huntingdon, pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £41,711.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Emma Page reminded employers of the dangers of working at height.
She says, as the regulator for work-related health and safety, HSE has a responsibility to take appropriate action when those who have control of work at height fail to take the necessary measures to reduce risk from falling.
Accidents involving falls from height remain one of the most common causes of serious injury at work.
Source: Health and Safety Executive