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Building firm sentenced after employee falls to death

Posted in: Employer Negligence Workplace Injuries 

A building firm and one of its directors have been sentenced after an employee fell 15 metres to his death in an empty water storage tank in Macclesfield.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the 45-year-old from Liverpool and a colleague had started work at the farm three days earlier. They had been constructing brick manhole chambers above the circular tank, approximately 7.5 metres in diameter, which had been installed to collect flood water.

A HSE investigation found they had not been given sufficient information or a risk assessment for the job, and were not given any advice about working above the storage tank by their employer.

The director with day-to-day responsibility for running the company visited the site the day before the workplace incident and saw both men working over the exposed openings in the tank. However, he took no action to put safety measures in place.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Kevin Jones said:

Peter Halligan sadly lost his life because his employer didn’t give any thought to his safety as he worked above a 15-metre deep tank.

This case shows how health and safety when working at height doesn’t just affect work being carried out at the top of buildings. The risks are just as great at lower levels if there’s the potential for someone to fall a distance likely to cause serious injury.


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