The Glasgow based company, SW Global Resourcing Limited, pled guilty to contraventions of sections 2 and 33(1) (a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, which resulted in the death of an employee at the Annick Water Viaduct in Stewarton, Ayrshire, in 2010. The company was fined £200,000 for the breaches.
Between March and April of 2010, employees of the company worked to cap and grout strengthening rods which had been inserted across the arches of the Viaduct. This involved working at height using mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs) positioned on concrete plinth that were built to create level working surfaces.
On 13 April 2010, an employee was working from the basket of a MEWP positioned at a height of approximately 13 metres (42 feet). The plinth that the MEWP was positioned on had been built with no end stop or edge protection to remove the risk of the MEWP falling from it. Resultantly, the incident occurred when the MEWP drove off the edge of the concrete plinth, throwing the employee from its basket and into the shallow river bed. He died at the scene as a result of his injuries.
The case was investigated by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) with assistance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The investigating authorities found that no suitable and sufficient risk assessment had been carried out for the task, and the system of work was found to be unsafe. The accident could have been avoided had reasonably practicable precautions been taken, in particular, had edge protections been used.
Gary Aitken, head of the COPFS health & safety division, said: “The company failed to ensure the safety of its employees and as a result of this Leslie Watson [the employee] died. This was an entirely avoidable tragedy which has left family and friends devastated at the loss of a loved one. Hopefully, today's outcome will highlight the need for companies to keep the health and safety of their employees to the fore."
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