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Working at height issues just as important when operating around pits and wells

A wet waste disposal firm from the West Midlands has been penalised after failing to take measures to ensure that one of its employees could work at height safely.

Tardis Environmental UK Ltd, of Fryers Road, Leamore, Bloxwich, was punished at Dudley Magistrates' Court on Wednesday (November 14th) for an incident where a worker fell and slid seven metres into sewage well in Halesowen.

The 34-year-old from Walsall was using a road tanker complete with pump and hose attachments in order to clear a blockage for Tardis Environmental UK.

However, when he stood over a grid at the top of the sewage well, the hose kicked back and hit the man, who did not wish to be named. This caused him to lose his balance and fall into the chamber below.

The incident caused the 34-year-old to suffer bruising to his elbows, knees and head. He also ingested raw sewage and sustained fraction burns on both his arms.

Tardis Environmental UK pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs.

HSE inspector Anthony Woodward commented: "Although he was working at ground level, the depth of the pit meant he was working at height so reasonable precautions to prevent a fall should have been provided by the company, such as a worker’s restraint or harness."

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