BT fined £300,000 after builder’s death fall

Grant Prior 13 years ago
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BT has been fined £300,000 following the death of a construction worker who fell from a ladder while carrying out installation works.

Power construction engineer David Askew, 52, from Braintree, Essex, suffered fatal head injuries after falling from a wooden ladder at London’s Canonbury Telephone Exchange on 27 October 2006.

British Telecommunications Plc was prosecuted after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive.

Southwark Crown Court heard Askew was installing distribution boards and running cabling as part of his work and would have been working at a height of more than four metres. He fell from a nine-step wooden ladder, sustaining a serious head injury and died 18 days later.

The HSE investigation found a number of issues including a failure to ensure the work at height was properly planned, and that Askew was provided with suitable access equipment for work at height.

Two wooden ladders found at the scene had not been subject to an annual inspection, contrary to BT’s own health and safety policy.

BT was also ordered to pay costs of £196,150

Nicola Maisuria, HSE inspector, said: “The fact that this incident was entirely avoidable makes Mr Askew’s death all the more tragic.

“The dangers posed by work at height are well known, yet BT failed to create the conditions to ensure this task was carried out safely and the appropriate access equipment was used.”

Speaking of her husband’s death, Denise Askew said: “I spent over 30 happy, irreplaceable years with my husband. He was a remarkable father and husband. What do I have to look forward to now? My husband was my past and I thought he was my future.

“I feel sad my husband will never see two of his children get married. Most of all I feel sad that I see such sadness in my children’s eyes when they talk of their father.

“I feel sad that my husband worked all his life and never got the chance to retire and enjoy the life he was working so hard towards.

“I share a massive disappointment that this happened within a workforce of such a large company and where the safety of every employee should have been assured”.

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