Telecommunications company fined after workers injured

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A large telecommunications company has been fined over £600k as two of it’s engineers are injured by falling from height.

An investigation by the HSE has found that the work had not been properly assessed or planned, despite workers being exposed to such serious risks as working at height close to an electrical system.

One of the engineers was installing a cable through a hole on the first floor. In order to carry out this work he was working on a stepladder in amongst the lighting system. He felt a pain in his right arm and fell from the step ladder. He was taken to hospital with head and back injuries.

The accident was not properly investigated and later that day the work was allowed to continue. The second engineer continued with the work himself, from a different ladder. However he too fell to the ground and was taken to hospital with serious skull and back injuries.

The telecommunication company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £60,000.

HSE inspector Laura Lyons said after the hearing: “Work at height and working close to electrical systems needs to be properly assessed and planned so that adequate controls can be put in place.  This duty rests firmly with the employer. These life changing incidents could have been avoided if [the company] had provided safe systems of work and ensured that the electrical systems were properly constructed, maintained and tested.”