Over half a million fine for worker's punctured lung
Published: 12 Jul 2019

Lanes Group has been fined for £500,000 following fall from a ladder of an employee whilst cutting back vegetation in Brent Cross viaduct in London. 

The company, that provides wastewater utility solutions and drainage services, had won the contract to help paint, repair and remove vegetation from the Northern London Underground line.

On 2 November, Keith Light arrived and began work painting the arches of the viaduct, without receiving a safety briefing that was needed. He began work and was later instructed to an area in a more inaccessible part of the site, which resulted in him reaching far across to cut branches, the ladder lurched and he fell to the ground.

He suffered a punctured lung, 11 broken ribs and a broken collarbone, resulting in 13 days in intensive care and two major operations. Following his injuries, he was unable to return to his former occupation.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) investigation found that the site inspection had been inadequate and had failed to realise that using ladders was inappropriate, exposing workers to the risk of falling. The job was neither properly planned or appropriately supervised, and workers couldn't use a tower scaffold or a mobile elevated work platform like that which was specified in their work method statement. 

Lanes Group pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations SI 2005/735 for which they were fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,896.

Ian Prosser, ORR director of safety and HM chief inspector of railways, said: “Our thoughts remain with the victim who suffered such awful injuries. We welcome the sentence, which clearly indicates the seriousness with which this offence is viewed, and we expect Lanes and the rail industry as a whole to look very hard at their sites and make sure they are doing everything possible to ensure they are safe.”