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Lewisham Council Homes Provider Fined Over Woman’s Flood Pit Fall

Case ‘Demonstrates Serious Consequences Of Safety Failings’


By Rob Dixon

The homes provider for Lewisham Council has been fined after a meter reading employee suffered serious facial and hand injuries when she fell into an unprotected flood pit cellar underneath a block of flats in October 2011.

Angela Watson suffered extensive jaw damage and fractured her wrist when she fell more than two metres through an open inner door in a caretaker’s cupboard at the flats on Elliot Bank in Forest Hill.

Lewisham Homes Ltd was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs in relation to the incident after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the cupboard had an insufficient lock, no warning signs or lighting. The victim needed extensive reconstructive dental surgery following the incident.

Sally Rissbrook, a workplace injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said the case highlighted a number of key factors.

She outlined: “This case highlights the terrible consequences that safety failings can have for victims, with the woman involved in this work accident needing extensive surgery and treatment as part of her rehabilitation from the fall.

“It is also important to note that had steps been taken to address some of the safety concerns found in the HSE investigation, there is a possibility that this entire incident could have been avoided.

“Some of the most basic safety measures – such as signs and adequate lighting – can play a huge role in keeping people safe from harm. This incident demonstrates this and we would encourage employers to recognise the importance of this in the future.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in relation to Falls From Height