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Updated Jan 10, 2023

Blind man injured after manhole left open

A 62-year old registered blind man has suffered injuries to his left leg after a manhole was left open by a family-run plumbing business, leading to a fine for £4,000.

The resident of Hanover Court, a sheltered housing development in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, fell when a manhole was left open at the sheltered housing development while a blockage was cleared on 19 February 2020.

Several failures from A & R Services were found by the Health and Safety Executive investigation including:

  • a failure to make substantial and sufficient assessment of the risk posed by the open manhole;
  • a failure to put in place barriers, signage or other protective measures to prevent anyone from accessing the pathway leading to the open manhole;
  • other than leaning the manhole cover against a door, no signage, barriers, guarding or other protective measures were put in place to prevent pedestrians from falling into the manhole while using the door.

On 14 December 2022 A & R Services, of Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire pleaded guilty to contravening the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The business was fined £4 000 at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

Principal inspector for the HSE investigation, Niall Miller, commented on the case:

"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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