BT Fined £300,000 Over Ladder Fall Death

Expert Calls For Lessons To Be Learnt

16.12.2010

The £300,000 fine handed out to BT after one of its employees was fatally injured at work must serve as a warning over the dangers of falls from height, according to an expert at Irwin Mitchell.

Essex-born power construction engineer David Askew, 52, suffered major head injuries after he fell from a wooden ladder while installing distribution boards and running cabling at a telephone exchange in London in October 2006.

The employee died in hospital 18 days later, with a subsequent investigation revealing the work at height was not adequately planned and that there was a failure to provide Mr Askew with suitable equipment for the task.

Two ladders at the exchange had also not been subject to an annual inspection as per BT’s own safety policy.

Lawyer Speaks Out Over Fall From Height

Commenting on the high-profile case, David Urpeth, national head of workplace injuries at Irwin Mitchell, said: “This incident, and the subsequent fine, highlights that working at height is always a potentially dangerous duty and one that has to be subjected to proper safety standards.

“Lessons must be learnt from Mr Askew’s death which will ensure that no other workers will suffer in the same manner. One issue that firms particularly need to focus on in the aftermath of this tragic case is ensuring companies follow both external and in-house policies on the health and safety of workers.

“The large fine in this case is a clear warning to firms that they will face serious consequences if they fail to take worker safety seriously.”