Worker falls into sewage pit stuffed with used nappies

Grant Prior 6 years ago
Share

A West Midlands contractor has been fined after a worker fell and slid seven metres into a sewage well on a housing job in Halesowen.

hse logo

The 34-year-old from Walsall, who has asked not to be named, was clearing a blockage for Tardis Environmental UK Ltd at a partially completed housing development when the incident occurred on 26 August last year.

A pump at the bottom of the sewage well had stopped working because it had become blocked with “rag”, bulky waste material like nappies.

To remove the waste the employee used a road tanker with pump and hose attachments. He opened a grid at the top of the well and stood over it to support and manipulate the hose.

As he did the hose kicked back and hit him, causing him to lose balance and fall into the chamber.

He managed to grab the hose as he fell and slid down it into the waste at the bottom where he stood disorientated for around twenty minutes before he realised he had his mobile phone with him and was able to call for help.

He ingested raw sewage, sustained friction burns to his arms, and bruised his elbows, knees and head in the fall. He was off work for a number of days.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the Tardis employee had been trained in the use of the pumping equipment but had not received any instruction or training in how to empty deep, below-ground sewage wells with specific regard to the risks involved with working at height.

Tardis Environmental UK Ltd, of Bloxwich pleaded guilty to breaching safety regulations at Dudley Magistrates’ Court and was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs.

After the hearing HSE inspector Anthony Woodward said:”The incident was entirely preventable.

“The nature of the work meant the worker was right next to, and leaning over, the deep well. Although he was working at ground level the depth of the pit meant he was working at height so reasonable precautions to prevent a fall should have been provided by the company, such as a worker’s restraint or harness.

“He was lucky to escape serious injury or further harm. If he had not have grabbed onto the hose to slow his fall, he might even have been killed. It was an extremely unpleasant experience that he should have been protected from.”

Latest news

Laing O’Rourke director killed in car crash on way to work

Tributes to Caroline Blackman who died early on Wednesday morning en route to Hinkley
3 days ago

Kier cutting jobs on Highways England contract

More than 100 workers facing redundancy across Midlands Area 9
3 days ago

Buckingham confirmed for £120m Swansea arena

Six months of pre-construction work to now get underway
3 days ago

Two North West smart motorway projects delayed

Costain and Galliford Try jobs put back by more than a year
3 days ago

Lendlease wins £8bn Thamesmead development

Morgan Sindall beaten in race for 11,500 home site
3 days ago

Government pledges £80m for Dawlish sea wall project

South Devon railway sea wall will be rebuilt and increased in height by 2.5m
3 days ago

30 jobs lost as Yorkshire precast firm collapses

Rippon-based Ebor Concretes placed in administration
3 days ago

Go-ahead for 200-home Cardiff build-to-rent scheme

Work to start on central Cardiff scheme this summer
4 days ago

Balfour renews £220m London Tube track upkeep

Four-year term will start in April with option to extend by six years
4 days ago

Boost your online presence – join the Enquirer Directory

New site for suppliers and buyers showcases products, services and latest stories
10 months ago

Bouygues paid £21m not to build Garden Bridge

Transport for London documents detail £53.5m wasted on doomed crossing
5 days ago

Government signs off £250m for major housing projects

Deal to release £157m for housing infrastructure in Cumbria and Devon
4 days ago

Beetham Tower owner faces £4m reclad bill

Owner will have to foot remedial facade works bill in wake of Carillion collapse
4 days ago

WYG profit warning sees share price crash 40%

Consultant back in talks with lenders over breaching banking covenants
5 days ago

United Living hires former Wates business director

Michael Holling takes role as northern and Midlands operations director after 24 years at Wates
4 days ago

Union demands death benefits for all construction workers

Unite says lack of employer-paid cover should be as unacceptable as not wearing a hard hat on site
5 days ago

Scaffold collapse on school misses kids by metres

Court hears how untied scaffold fell into Welsh school
5 days ago

Galliford Try construction hit by more Aberdeen bypass losses

Another £26m hit on bypass plunges construction into red in first half
5 days ago

Council terminates Lakehouse school contract

Willmott Dixon takes over site hit by "performance and project delays"
5 days ago

Government infrastructure pipeline needs reality check

Call for Treasury to drop project 'wishlist' for certain Pledged Projects List
5 days ago

Council seeks partner for Birmingham Ladywood Estate

Major regeneration plans at Ladywood and Perry Bar to boost city's housing stock
5 days ago

Willmott Dixon wins £21m Wakefield swimming pool

Work to start next month on Pontefract Park leisure centre
5 days ago

Weston and Tesco plan to turn store site into 1,400 homes

Application set to go in for major mixed-use development in east London
5 days ago

Network Rail unveils major operational shake-up

Devolved operating model moves from eight to 13 routes
6 days ago

Subcontractors wanted across Nottingham

Big name contractors and clients looking to boost supply chains: Register now for Meet the Buyer event
5 days ago

Bidding starts for £18m Helensburgh leisure centre

Argyll and Bute Council hopes to start work on seafront leisure centre and swimming pool this year
6 days ago

Interserve ‘fit for growth’ director exits

Dougie Sutherland merged UK and International construction businesses
6 days ago

Rail minister says HS2 doubts are “complete nonsense”

Government says its commitment to construction of the full route is "undiminished"
6 days ago

Go-ahead for Manchester Airport beauty group hub

Three contractors chase £31m deal for The Hut Group studio
7 days ago

Drink driver careers through roadworks

Jailed driver was three times over the limit when he crashed into a construction vehicle
6 days ago

Contractor services