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Openreach fined £1.34 million after death of an engineer – Accountant in Wimbledon

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has fined Openreach £1.34 million following an investigation into the death of an engineer. Alun Owen, an engineer from Bethesda, tragically lost his life while attempting to repair a telephone line spanning the River Aber in Abergwyngregyn.

Engineers had been working to repair the telephone lines in the area for two months, frequently operating near and in the river. At the time of the incident, the river was significantly higher and flowing faster than usual due to flooding.

Mr. Owen ventured into the river and reached an island in the middle, attempting to throw a new telephone cable across to the other side by attaching it to a hammer and throwing it. During his effort to cross the remaining part of the river, he slipped into a deeper section and was swept away by the river’s strong current.

The investigation, conducted with the involvement of North Wales Police, revealed that there was no safe system of work in place. Mr. Owen and other workers had not received any training, information, or instruction on safe working practices near or in water.

Openreach pleaded guilty, resulting in the fine and an order to pay costs. The HSE emphasized that Mr. Owen should not have been placed in such an unsafe working situation. Businesses with staff working near or in water are reminded of the critical importance of having an effective safe system of work.

For more details, visit: HSE Press Release.

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