Bam Nuttall fined £2.3m after worker drowned 

Bam Nuttall has been fined £2.345m after a worker drowned in the River Aire in 2017. 

Gary Webster was removing debris from the bottom of weir gates at Knostrop Weir, in south Leeds, with another worker when their boat capsized.  

The boat had been pulled into turbulent water caused by “the considerable flow of water flowing over the top of the weir”, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

While his colleague swam to safety, Webster was repeatedly pulled under water and was eventually recovered by a diver 14 minutes later, the safety regulator said. He died in Leeds General Infirmary two days later. 

An HSE investigation found that “Bam Nuttall Ltd had several operatives who were trained and authorised to control weir gates so that the water could be slowed down”. 

“This would have allowed the debris to float away or be reached safely by boat. However, the company failed to carry out this task”. 

Bam Nuttall Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. On Wednesday (12 June), the company was fined £2.345m and ordered to pay £25,770.48 in costs at Leeds Magistrates’ Court.

HSE inspector Jayne Towey said: “Bam Nuttall Ltd failed to plan the work. It failed to carry out any assessment of the risks involved with the task. 

“It failed to have any regard to the recognised hierarchy of controls to reduce the risk associated with removing debris from the water. 

“It failed to ensure that suitable safety measures were in place and failed to put in place a safe system of work.

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.”

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