Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

October 19, 2015

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National Grid admits breach over 11-year-old’s fatal fall

A utility company has admitted a health and safety breach after a boy died when he slipped from an exposed gas pipe and fell into a canal. National Grid admitted failing to guard the pipeline but said 11-year-old Robbie Williamson, from Burnley in Lancashire, would have tried to access it if it had been protected the BBC has reported.

It was heard in court how Robbie died while playing a game of dare with friends on 22 April 2014.

He was using the pipe to cross the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in the town. A post-mortem examination found Robbie died from drowning and a head injury. A verdict of accidental death was recorded at the inquest.

It was heard at Preston Crown Court how the company has responsibility for the cast iron pipe attached to Dugdale Bridge, near Lowerhouse Lane.

Following an HSE investigation into the incident the firm has pleaded guilty to failing to discharge their duty in ensuring “as was reasonably practicable” the health and safety of others by exposing them to risk of injury.

Following his death, National Grid installed protection on the pipe and have carried out a review of all the other pipe crossings it owns.

A Newton hearing has been scheduled to take place on 8 December.


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