British Telecom Fined $465,000 for Fatal Fall

The company was prosecuted after an employee suffered fatal head injuries in October 2006 when he fell from a wooden ladder.

British Telecommunications Plc has been fined $465,000 in connection with the October 2006 death of a 52-year-old power construction engineer who fell about 12 feet from a wooden ladder and sustained head injuries. The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted the company after determining the work was not properly planned and the employee, David Askew, was not given suitable equipment for working at height.

Two wooden ladders found at the scene, London's Canonbury Telephone Exchange, had not been inspected annually, although BT's safety policy required this, according to HSE.

BT, which is based in London, was found guilty of violating section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. At sentencing last week, the company was fined $465,000 and ordered to pay costs of $304,000, for a total of $769,000.

"The fact that this incident was entirely avoidable makes Mr. Askew's death all the more tragic. The dangers posed by work at height are well known, yet BT failed to create the conditions to ensure this task was carried out safely and the appropriate access equipment was used," said Nicola Maisuria, the HSE inspector in the case.

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