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Building firm sentenced after employee falls to death

10-04-2013

manhole chambers above the circular tank

A building firm and one of its directors have been sentenced after an employee fell 15 metres to his death in an empty water storage tank in Macclesfield.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Galt Civil Engineering Ltd. and Peter Stuart following an investigation into the death of Peter Halligan at Sutton Hall Farm on 14 August 2008.

On 8 April, Liverpool Crown Court heard that the 45-year-old from Liverpool and a colleague had started work at the farm, on London Road in Lyme Green, three days earlier. They had been constructing brick manhole chambers above the circular tank, approximately 7.5 metres in diameter, which had been installed to collect flood water.

A HSE investigation found they had not been given sufficient information or a risk assessment for the job, and were not given any advice about working above the storage tank by their employer.

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

On the day of the incident, Mr Halligan’s colleague had gone to collect a saw but when he turned back around he could no longer see Mr Halligan. His body was found at the bottom of the storage tank.

Galt Civil Engineering Ltd., which is in administration, and Peter Stuart pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of workers.

Galt Civil Engineering Ltd., of Manchester Road in Wilmslow, received a nominal fine of £50 and was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £24,974. Peter Stuart, of Delph Lane in Chorley, was fined £30,000 with no costs.

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