Bilfinger “rigger” killed installing fall arrest lines on pylon

Bilfinger "rigger" killed installing fall arrest lines on pylon

Tuesday 22nd November 2016

International engineering contractor Bilfinger was last week fined £200,000 following the death of a worker who fell nine metres 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 5 July 2014 when the incident happened.

The HSE investigated and prosecuted Bilfinger Industrial Services (UK) for serious safety failings.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that Richards, 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, Richards arrived at the pylon and found that the painters had already commenced painting even though the pylon had not been rigged for safe working.

Richards climbed approximately nine metres up the pylon, when he fell backwards, narrowly missing one of the painters working directly below him. He sustained serious multiple injuries and died at the scene.

The HSE investigation found a number of failings by Bilfinger Industrial Services (UK) 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, exposing their employees to the risk of death.

Bilfinger Industrial Services (UK) of Manor Park, Runcorn pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 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 [was] 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."

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