Claire Harden successfully prosecutes Thames Water Utilities Ltd for significant Health and Safety failures
Thames Water Utilities Ltd has been fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £60,000 costs following the death of Raymond Holmes at their Coppermills site in East London in April 2010. Mr Holmes was killed after being hit by an excavator which was reversing. He had been working in a filtration bed.
Claire successfully argued that Water Utilities Ltd had failed to identify significant hazards involved in cleaning the beds. These hazards included the excavator not sounding warning noises when reversing, barriers not being erected so that workers and plant were in close proximity and workers not wearing high visibility clothes.
The death of Mr Holmes was described by Judge Michael Gledhill QC as an “accident waiting to happen”. He went on to say "Raymond Holmes, an employee of Thames Water, went to work as normal in the CopperMills Water Treatment Works where he had been based for some time. An incident occurred during the course of the day that left him dead - the consequences to his wife and daughter in particular were catastrophic.
"Nobody knowing about this case and reading [the victim impact statements] could be anything but deeply moved by what happened to Mr Holmes. It was a tragic accident. No doubt the sympathy of everybody listening gives out to the driver of the vehicle who has the burden for the rest of his life."
The Reading-based firm pleaded guilty to failing to discharge a duty under section 2 of the health and safety at work act 1974. The offence was contrary to section 33 (1) (A) of the act and they admitted culpability in August just a month after being charged.
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