Newcastle upon Tyne Magistrates’ Court heard that on 5th June 2018, Northumbrian Water had contracted JW Colpitts & Co to connect a 1.5-tonne water valve in a confined chamber at Kielder reservoir in Northumberland.
The valve was suspended from a lorry-mounted loader crane when it swung across the chamber and struck the worker. He was airlifted to hospital where he was found to have sustained an open compound fracture of his tibia and fibula.
A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that both companies had failed to risk assess the work and the additional hazards introduced by a change in the scope of work. They failed to implement suitable safety measures and safe systems of work, or provide adequate supervision to the workers.
Northumbrian Water Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £365,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,360.69 and a victim surcharge of £120.00.
JW Colpitts & Co Limited of Blyth Riverside Industrial Estate, Blyth, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 etc. It was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,452.22 and a victim surcharge of £120.
HSE inspector Clare Maltby said after the hearing: “Companies must understand that work activities involving confined spaces, work at height and lifting operations must be subject to a robust risk assessment. Furthermore, risk assessments should be reviewed if the scope of work changes and additional hazards are introduced. Companies must also ensure that they have suitable safety control measures and safe systems of work in place to address the identified risks. Appropriate arrangements should be in place to supervise and monitor work.”