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April 10, 2013

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Worker found dead inside storage tank

A building firm and one of its directors have been fined after a worker fell more than 15 metres to his death inside an empty water-storage tank.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Galt Civil Engineering Ltd had been contracted to construct a brick manhole chambers above a circular water-storage tank at a farm in Lyme Green, Macclesfield. Each chamber was approximately 7.5 metres in diameter and was being installed to collect floodwater.

Peter Halligan, 45, and another worker, carried out the work despite not being provided with sufficient information, or a risk assessment for the job. They also didn’t receive any advice about working above the storage tank.

On 14 August 2008, Mr Halligan’s colleague went to collect a saw and when he returned he found Peter’s body at the bottom of the storage tank.

The HSE investigated the incident and learned Peter Stuart, 54, who was the director with day-to-day responsibility for running the company, visited the site the day before the incident. He saw both men working over the exposed openings in the tank but took no action to put safety measures in place.

HSE inspector Kevin Jones said: “Peter Halligan sadly lost his life because his employer didn’t give any thought to his safety as he worked above a 15-metre-deep tank.

“There were several ways the work could have been carried out safely, such as using a harness, installing a guardrail around the opening, or providing temporary covers. However, Galt Civil Engineering and Peter Stuart chose none of these.”

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10 years ago

Why if designing a collection tank of such depth is it not possible to include a brake fall cage within to mitgate falls of such distance?

Maintainence of the tank was to be carried out by a CAT ladder access no doubt or step irons, which would require an A Frame and Cable Winch etc.

I know its a leading edge and therefore edge protection or secure cover is required, but untill the biscuit / cover is in place access within raises serious fall risk unless adequate fall restraint is adopted?

10 years ago

A suitably rustproofed break fall cage would have cost a fraction of the (modest) fines and costs.Even less, a simple grille beneath the manhole cover
What would a “reasonable person” think of workers (construction or service) on the edge of a 15m. drop?
Tragic, foreseeable,avoidable, and is life that cheap?