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Carillion fined nearly £100,000 for safety breach

Carillion JM was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay £24,000 in costs at Maidstone Crown court for failing to protect an employee who died at work after falling 17 metres.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is urging construction firms to ensure their procedures for working at height are properly planned and carried out, following its successful prosecution of Carillion JM for breaching health and safety regulations.

The HSE's prosecution followed its investigation into the death of Carillion employee, Alexander McCully, at a construction site on the Isle of Grain in Kent, in December 2003.

Alexander McCully had worked at the Air BP Ltd site for 14 weeks building large steel oil storage tanks and on the day of his death, was altering work platforms to allow a roof structure to be lifted into place by cranes.

McCully was standing on a platform on the outside of the storage tank close to the top, ready to rebuild an internal scaffold platform. As he climbed onto the incomplete platform on the inside of the tank, one of the three platform boards snapped and he fell 17 metres to the floor below.

Mr McCully was following company policy by wearing a fall arrest harness but there was no suitable anchor point for him to attach his lanyard to the rim of the tank. For the harnesses to be used effectively, there needed to be about 50 anchor points around the rim of the storage tank.

The company’s procedures did not require these to be fitted prior to the crane lift starting, and the HSE found this was a major weakness in their system of work.

HSE Inspector John Underwood said: “This was a wholly avoidable incident which led to unnecessary loss of life. I hope this case and the fine imposed will serve as a lesson to scaffold builders and the tank building industry, and will make sure others avoid a similar fate'.
15 August 2008

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