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BT were recently fined £300,000 after a worker sustained fatal head injuries during the course of his employment.

David Askew, a power construction engineer, employed by BT fell from a wooden ladder in October 2006 while installing distribution boards and running cable. Mr Askew was standing on the top rung of a seven foot wooden ladder carrying out his job. He was working alone at the time of the accident. Tragically, Mr Askew fell from the ladder and sustained severe head injuries. He was admitted to hospital but died 18 days later.

The Health and Safety Executive investigate the accident and BT was found, by Judge Deborah Taylor, to have breached the Health and Safety at Work Act. The work Mr Askew was doing was not properly planned by BT and the ladder he was using was not been subject to annual inspections. Moreover it was found, BT staff who worked at height  had been given erroneous advice in BTs manuals as to the most up to date legislation covering working at height.

The risks of working at height ought to be well recognised by all employers.  Falls from height are well publicised as being the most common cause of work places fatality. Employers in terms of the Work at Height Regulations have a responsibility to make sure all jobs being carried out by employees at height are well planned, well organised, well supervised and are carried  out in a manner which so far as is reasonably practicable is safe. Employers also have a duty to ensure that equipment being used is appropriate and in good condition.

I sincerely hope BT recognise the tragic loss which Mr Askew’s family have suffered and make sure that they do everything in their power to ensure the safety of all of their employees in the future.


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