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Bilfinger Industrial Services sentenced after rigger falls 30 ft from pylon in Carlisle

Engineering firm Bilfinger Industrial Services has been sentenced following the death of one of its workers in 2014.

Vincent John Richards, 49, died after falling 30 ft while installing fall arrest lines for painters to use on pylons in Great Orton, Carlisle.

The firm pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety Act at Carlisle Crown Court and was fined £200 and ordered to pay costs of £59,320.

The prosecution came after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive, which found serious safety failings as well as failures in the management of risks when working at heights.

The court heard yesterday that Mr Richards was employed by the company as a rigger and had been working with a colleague preparing the pylons in readiness for maintenance work.

Mr Richards arrived at the pylon to find that painters had started work before the pylon had been rigged with the fall arrest lines.

When installing the lines, Mr Richards fell 30 ft and narrowly missed one of the painters directly below him.

HSE inspector Susan Ritchie said: “The company [was] clearly aware of the hazards involved with pylon work and had a system in place to manage the risks.

“Unfortunately they failed to implement, monitor and enforce this system of work.

“In addition, they failed to ensure the proper inspection and provision of safety-critical personal protective equipment.”

Bilfinger Industrial Services spokesman said: “Tragically, Vincent suffered heart failure and fell from height.

“Since it happened, we have worked hard to ensure our processes and procedures would prevent anyone else from falling again in these circumstances.

“For his friends and family, we are grateful that the case has now drawn to a close and our deepest sympathies remain with them.”

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