Rigger dies in pylon plunge while installing fall arrest lines

Grant Prior 8 years ago
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Bilfinger Industrial Services (UK) Limited has been sentenced following the death of a worker who fell 30 feet from an electricity pylon.

Vincent John Richards, 49, from Walsall was installing fall arrest lines for painters to use on the pylon at Great Orton, Carlisle on the 5 July 2014 when the incident happened.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that Richards, who was employed by the company as a “Rigger”, had been working with a colleague preparing the pylons in readiness for painters to carry out maintenance work.

On the morning of the incident he arrived at pylon FT37 and found that the painters had already commenced painting even though the pylon had not been rigged.

Richards had climbed approximately 30ft up the pylon, when he fell backwards, narrowly missing one of the painters working directly below him.

As a result of the fall Richards sustained serious multiple injuries and died at the scene.

An HSE investigation found a number of failings by Bilfinger Industrial Services (UK) Limited in the management of risks arising from work at height.

Although the company had a system of work they failed to implement, monitor and enforce this system. This failing exposed their employees to the risk of death.

Bilfinger Industrial Services (UK) Limited of Runcorn pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £200.000 and ordered to pay costs of £59,320.10.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Susan Ritchie said: “The company were clearly aware of the hazards involved with pylon work and had a system in place to manage the risks.

“Unfortunately they failed to implement, monitor and enforce this system of work. In addition they failed to ensure the proper inspection and provision of safety critical personal protective equipment.”

A spokesperson from Bilfinger Industrial Services, said: “Tragically, Vincent suffered heart failure and fell from height.

“Since it happened, we have worked hard to ensure that our processes and procedures would prevent anyone else from falling again in these circumstances.

“For his friends and family, we are grateful that the case has now drawn to a close and our deepest sympathies remain with them.”

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