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Utility company Thames Water (TWUL) has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a court found the firm guilty in the death of a man at one of its treatment works.

Raymond Holmes was killed after sustaining fatal injuries when an excavator machine crushed him.

Southwark Crown Court heard that Mr Holmes, 59, was hit by the excavator while completing profiling work for the Thames Water Utilities Limited (TWUL).

Partly because Mr Holmes was not instructed to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) by TWUL, the driver of the excavator reversed into him.

Through its investigation, HSE found that TWUL had already identified that control measures for the work were needed to reduce the likelihood of such an incident.

These measures were not implemented. Mr Holmes had also not received any instruction from TWUL and additionally, the work was not being supervised. TWUL had also not required its workers to wear hi-vis PPE clothing.

Further, the investigation found that the excavator had ineffective rear view mirrors and was not installed with an alarm or any type of reversing aids.

Pleading guilty, TWUL was ordered to pay fines amounting to £300,000. The firm was also ordered to pay court costs of £61,229.

Speaking after the sentence was handed down, the inspector on the case for the HSE, Nick Patience, said that a failure to implement basic standards for safety had resulted in the death of Raymond Holmes. He explained:

“Although Thames Water had identified the potential risks, the company failed to ensure the necessary precautions and safe systems of work were in place, understood by all and monitored on that fateful day.”

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