Liverpool Crown Court heard that Peter Halligan from Liverpool and a colleague had started work at a farm three days earlier where they had been constructing brick manhole chambers above the tank, around 7.5 metres in diameter, which had been installed to collect flood water. On the day of the incident, the worker’s colleague had gone to collect a saw but when he returned he could no longer see Mr Halligan. His body was found at the bottom of the storage tank.
An HSE investigation found the two men had not been given sufficient information or a risk assessment for the job, and were not given any advice about working above the storage tank by their employer.
Galt Civil Engineering Ltd, which is in administration, and Peter Stuart pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of workers. Galt received a nominal fine of £50 and was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £24,974. Stuart, who was fined £30,000 with no costs, had visited the site the day before the incident and saw both men working over the exposed openings in the tank but took no action to put safety measures in place.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Kevin Jones said: “Peter Halligan sadly lost his life because his employer didn’t give any thought to his safety as he worked above a 15-metre deep tank. There were several ways the work could have been carried out safely, such as using a harness, installing a guardrail around the opening, or providing temporary covers. However, Galt Civil Engineering and Peter Stuart chose none of these.”