Council fined for public liability violation

One council was recently fined for a public liability violation when one of its employees tumbled down a dry well whilst picking up litter.

Mansfield District Council recently admitted that it had breached one of the 2005 Work at Height Regulations.  The local authority was fined £5,000 by the Mansfield Magistrates Court.  The council was also ordered to pay £5,700 in legal costs, public liability insurance policy holders will be interested to know.

Stuart Pilkington, an inspector for the Health and Safety Executive, stated that the worker who fell down the well was incredibly lucky to be alive.  Despite this, he still suffered serious injuries in the fall.

Mr Pilkington added that falls from height are one of the largest causes of deaths in the workplace.  In light of that fact, employers must ensure that the work their employees participate in is properly supervised, planned, and carried out in order to protect them from such terrible risks.

The incident occurred on the 28th of April of 2009 when the worker was removing litter from the White Lion Yard in Mansfield.  The worker has declined to be identified in any news media regarding the accident.

At the time he was in the company of two other employees as they removed rubbish that had accumulated between the well’s mesh cover and the metal grid laid over the top. The mesh gave way underneath the worker’s weight when he positioned himself atop it.  As a result he fell into the well and sustained his injuries.

In related news, the Health and Safety Executive prosecuted more than 110 offences in the East Midlands region during the 2009-2010 year.  Experts say that many such offences, and the resultant insurance claims, could have been avoided if employers would be more attentive to the needs of their workers.

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