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E.On power station death highlights industrial drowning risks

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When 37-year old Michael Benn, an industrial cleaner contracted to work at E.On power station Connah’s Quay, went to investigate a poorly functioning pump he and two colleagues were using to clear away silt and sludge, he fell into a water cooling tank and drowned.

In September, the cleaning company, Epsco Ltd, was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay costs totalling £120,000. The judge said there were no warning signs to alert workers to the fact they were approaching a drop and a simple barrier could have prevented the hazard. The Health and Safety Executive said the incident was ‘entirely foreseeable yet still allowed to happen’.

Michael’s widow Lynne Benn called for other companies involved in similar types of work to do everything in their power to protect their employees from the same risks.

All employers and contractors are required by law to provide a safe workplace for staff and they are also required to carry out a risk assessment so that hazards are highlighted and procedures put in place to make sure they do not put workers’ lives at risk. If they fail to adhere to these strict rules and someone is injured or dies as a result, not only will they face prosecution and fines, they will also be liable for compensating the injured party or their family.

Drowning risks high in industrial environments

In an industrial environment, the risk of a drowning accident is high. Cooling tanks, sumps, silos, chambers and vats pose a risk not just of drowning, but as most of them are confined spaces, they can also present a danger of asphyxiation.

If you have lost a loved one in an industrial drowning accident which was caused by the negligence of an employer or contractor, you have a right to pursue a claim for compensation if you were financially dependent on them.

At Stephensons, we have dedicated workplace accident claims specialists with broad experience of achieving large sums in compensation for the families of fatally injured workers.

To discuss your case with one of our personal injury solicitors, call us on 01616 966 229.

By personal injury solicitor and Stephensons' Partner, Kate Sweeney