Litterpicker injured falling into well

A Mansfield District Council worker fell six metres down a dry well while clearing litter from a yard, magistrates heard today (January 12).

The site where the man fell

The site where the man fell

The employee, who has asked not to be named, was clearing litter from the White Lion Yard in the town on 28 April 2009 when the incident happened.

Three workers were asked to clear litter that had collected between a metal grid and a mesh cover over the well. Two workers removed the grid, while the third stood on the mesh, believing it to be solid underneath, and fell into the well.

He dislocated his elbow and cut his head, arms and leg and was off work for six months.

Mansfield Magistrates' Court heard that the council had failed to ensure that the work was properly planned or carried out safely.

Mansfield District Council, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and were fined £5,000 They were also ordered to pay £5,700 costs.

HSE inspector Stuart Pilkington, said: "The work in White Lion Yard needed to be properly planned as although it appeared to be quite straightforward, workers cleaning the well were clearly at risk from falling into it.

"This worker was extremely lucky to survive but he was quite seriously injured. Falls from height are the biggest causes of workplace deaths and it's crucial that employers make sure work is properly planned, supervised and carried out to protect staff from these risks."

Last year more than 4,000 employees suffered major injuries after falling from height at work, and 21 workers in the construction industry died.

Luke Walsh

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