Fatal accident at work as man falls from height

A building firm and one its directors have been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a fatal accident at work saw a man fall 15 metres in an empty water storage tank in Macclesfield.

Galt Civil Engineering Ltd and Peter Stuart were prosecuted following an HSE investigation into the death of Peter Halligan in August 2008.

Liverpool Crown Court heard on the 8th April, that Peter Halligan, 45 years old from Liverpool, was working with a colleague at Sutton Hall Farm in Lyme Green. They started work 3 days prior to the fatal accident at work.

They were constructing brick manhole chambers above the circular water storage tank, which was approximately 7.5 metres in diameter that was installed to collect flood water.

The HSE investigation found that Mr Halligan and his colleague had not been given sufficient information or a risk assessment for the task. They were also not given any advice about working above the storage tank by their employer.

Peter Stuart, who was a director of Galt Civil Engineering Ltd with day-to-day responsibility for running the company, visited the site the day before the fatal accident at work and saw both Mr Halligan and the other worker, working over the exposed openings in the tank.

However, Mr Stuart failed to take any action to put safety measures in place.

On the day of the accident, Mr Halligan’s colleague had gone to collect a saw. When he turned back around, he could no longer see Mr Halligan.

Mr Halligan’s body was found at the bottom of the water storage tank after a fall from height of 15 metres.

James Halligan, one of Peter’s brothers, says, “Every day I say to myself Peter should be here with us where he is loved so much. It should have been old age that took him away but it was not.”

Melanie Lidstone Land, expert personal injury lawyer at Swain & Co Solicitors, says, “This fatal accident at work could have been prevented if Mr Halligan’s employers had given thought to his safety as he worked above a 15 metre deep water storage tank.”

“A man has lost his life, and a family is left to pick up the pieces because of Mr Halligan’s employers failing in their health and safety duties.”

Falls from height are the biggest cause of workplace deaths within the construction industry.

Everyone has the right to go to and return from work unharmed.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident at work , Melanie and our personal injury team offer you free initial advice and can act on a no win no fee basis for you.

So call Melanie for free on 0800 0351 999