Company fined £550,000 after worker impaled and killed on metal piping

Electrician Matthew Mason was fatally injured while installing a public address system at Bearsden train station on June 5, 2018.

Linbrooke Services Limited fined after man impaled on metal piping after ladder fall at Bearsden train station COPFS

A company which employed a man who died after he fell from a stepladder and was impaled on metal piping at a train station in East Dumbartonshire has been fined £550,000.

Electrician Matthew Mason was fatally injured while installing a public address system at Bearsden train station on Tuesday June 5, 2018. 

The trial, which lasted 14 days, heard that the 20-year-old was trying to free speaker cabling that had become stuck when he fell backwards from a stepladder onto a section of metal piping that was being used as a handle on a cable drum. 

The piping pierced his side causing internal injuries and he was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Sheffield-based construction and telecommunication company Linbrooke Services Limited was found guilty of breaches of health and safety and working at height regulations at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on March 30, 2023. 

In addition to being fined £550,000, the company was also ordered to pay the deceased’s family £200,000 in compensation.

The prosecutor led evidence showing that the company had failed to appropriately plan, and risk assess the work and have in place a safe system of work.  

The company was found to have failed to adequately identify the risks involved with pulling cables through a conduit at height even though they had been informed of the problems met by a sub-contractor in an earlier attempt. 

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) determined that stepladders were unsuitable for the work being carried out and there were insufficient measures in place to prevent a fall from height. 

The company also failed to adequately identify the risks involved with the use of improvised cable dispensing methods or ensure that the surrounding area was free of material which could cause injury in the event of a fall. 

Speaking after the sentencing, Debbie Carroll, who leads on health and safety investigations for the COPFS, said: “Matthew Mason lost his life in circumstances which were foreseeable and avoidable.  

“His death could have been prevented had Linbrooke Services Limited put in place appropriate planning, supervision, and protective measures to manage the risk of working at height.    

 ”It is well known that falls from height are one of the single greatest causes of death and serious injury to workers within the construction industry.    

“From the evidence heard here there needs to be an increased recognition and rigour within the industry in addressing the risks associated with the use of stepladders.  

 “This prosecution should remind duty holders that a failure to fulfil their obligations can have fatal consequences and they will be held accountable for this failure.”

A spokeswoman for Linbrooke said: “This was a tragic accident, and our sympathies remain with Mr Mason’s family.

“Our overriding commitment to safety is continually measured by our industry-leading track record over many years and this was recently demonstrated by the significant amount of related evidence that was considered by the court.

“Whilst we are disappointed by the verdict, we respect the decision of the jury.

“The health and safety of our people, in all aspects of our business, remains one of the key pillars of our culture and ways of working.”

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