Perth firm fined £155,000 over worker death

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Michael Benn died after falling into a sump at Connah's Quay power station (Picture by Roger Davies)

A MAINTENANCE company has been ordered to pay £155,000 after a Scots worker drowned at a North Wales power station.

Michael Benn, from Glenrothes, Fife died after falling into a cooling tower sump in August 2007.

The 35-year-old had been removing sludge and debris from the area at Connah’s Quay Power Station,

An investigation revealed he had he was working in poorly lit conditions and had entered an enclosed culvert to check the depth of water in the sump.

Colleagues working nearby heard Mr Benn’s distressed shouts, but when they got to the sump he had disappeared from view. His body was subsequently recovered from the bottom of the sump.

Today (wed) at Mold crown court his Perth-based employers, Epsco Ltd, pleaded guilty to failing to have a safe system of work in place.

They were fined a total £35,000 and ordered to pay costs of £120,000.

FORSEEABLE

Health and Safety Executive  Principal Inspector Colin Mew said: “This incident was entirely foreseeable and yet it was still allowed to happen. Epsco Ltd would have known Mr Benn or one of his colleagues would need to approach the sump in the course of their work. The inherent risk of working in this manner should have been obvious to any diligent employer.

“This company failed to put a safe system of work into place. The enclosed area where this work was taking place was poorly lit, noisy and conditions were wet and slippery.

“The cost of providing barriers or other measures to prevent this incident and the time and effort involved would have been minimal.

“The real tragedy here is the human cost that has resulted from the death of Michael Benn and the ease with which his death could have been prevented – I hope that other employers take heed of this message”

 

 

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