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Lewisham Council fined after visitor falls into inspection pit

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The London Borough of Lewisham has been found guilty and fined for failing to manage and control the risk of persons falling into vehicle inspection pits at their Wearside Service Centre in Ladywell.

Southwark Crown Court heard how, a visitor to the Wearside Service Centre fell into a vehicle inspection pit striking her head while work was being undertaken at the site.

Lewisham Council had failed to heed their own independent health and safety consultant’s findings from two sets of risk assessments that recommended guarding around or over the open pits, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Lewisham Council also ignored HSE guidance on the need to guard against persons falling into vehicle inspection pits.

The council was found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £150,000, and ordered to pay costs of £65,000.

Speaking after the case, HSE Inspector Ian Shearring said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work fatalities in this country.

“The risks associated with working at height are well-known. Lewisham Council had been repeatedly warned of the risk and what they needed to do, and have today been held to account for failing to take adequate action to protect the health and safety of persons visiting their site.”

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