NuGen Properties

Plumbers fined after blind man falls into manhole


A generic open manhole that someone could fall into; not the actual one at Hanover Court

The 62-year-old registered-blind resident of Hanover Court, a sheltered housing development in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, suffered injuries to his left leg in the fall on 19th February 2020.

The manhole at the sheltered housing development had been left open by A&R Services while a blockage was being cleared.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that A&R Services had failed to make a suitable assessment of the risk posed by the open manhole.

It had failed to put up barriers, signage or other protective measures to prevent anyone from accessing the pathway leading to the open manhole.

In addition, other than leaning the manhole cover against a door, there were no signs, barriers, guarding or other protective measures were put in place to prevent pedestrians from falling into the manhole.

A&R Services, of Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £4,000 at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on December 14, 2022.

HSE principal inspector Niall Miller said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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