An English utility company has been ordered by the English courts to pay over £350,000 in fines and costs after a long-serving employee was killed in an accident at work in 2010.
Thames Water Utilities Limited (“TWUL”) has been fined and ordered to pay costs of £361,000 by the Southwark Crown Court after Mr Raymond Holmes was killed in a workplace accident on 30 April 2010.
On the day in question Mr Holmes, 59, was undertaking profiling work as part of a team clearing a large sand filter bed and was using laser levelling equipment to measure the depth of the sand bed. Whilst he was using the equipment the driver of an excavator reversed and hit Mr Holmes. Mr Holmes sustained fatal crush injuries and died at the scene.
The Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”) was notified of the accident and subsequently investigated. This investigation found that TWUL had failed to put in place sufficient control measures to ensure that workers could not be hit by other equipment being used at the site. However, the investigation also recognised the fact that the company did recognise the need for measures to prevent such risks, although they had not adequately ensured that this was implemented on the day. The HSE investigation recommended that the case be progressed to a prosecution of TWUL for breaches of health and safety legislation.
The case came to the Southwark Crown Court on 8 December 2014, with TWUL pleading guilty to a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The court fined the company £300,000 and to pay £61,229 in respect of the prosecution’s costs.
It is not currently known whether Mr Holmes’ family are attempting to claim personal injury against Thames Water.
HSE inspector Mr Nick Patience commented after the judgment: “Working alongside mobile plant can be extremely dangerous, and it is vital that effective control measures are in place at all times to ensure collisions are avoided. Although Thames Water had identified the potential risks, the company failed to ensure the necessary precautions and safe systems of work were in place, understood by all and monitored on that fateful day.”
Chris Hadrill, a solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “This case shows that it is important for organisations not just to recognise the need for health and safety measures to prevent injuries to workers, but that also such measures are implemented at all sites where there is a potentially health and safety risk.”
Redmans Solicitors are no win no fee employment solicitors and personal injury solicitors