TRIAL LATEST: Co-worker of man killed by pole plunge says no risk assessment was shown

John Flowers
John Flowers
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A colleague of a grandfather who plunged to his death has told jurors how he ‘heard’ the fatal fall.

Barry Bates was giving evidence at the trial of firm Electricity North West, which is being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive over alleged findings following the death of his fellow linesman John Flowers, 63.

The co workers had been clearing ivy from an electricity pole on Gregson Lane, Hoghton in November 2013 when Mr Flowers accidentally cut through a safety lanyard while it is said his sight of his equipment was restricted.

Mr Bates said: “ I walked to the back of the pole. Then I heard the ladders rattling.”

He then found Mr Flowers on the ground.

After showing jurors pieces of their harness equipment, Mr Bates said he had never been shown a risk assessment of the site.

Prosecuting, Nigel Lawrence QC asked: “Had you been made aware of the fact you would be clearing ivy from the poles or the extent of the ivy growth?”

He replied: “No.”

The court previously heard two surveys noted the dangers from ivy growth on the pole, and that it was rotting, but neither had been acted on.

The firm denies failing to carry out a risk assessment for employees working at height, including Mr Flowers, and contravening work at height regulations by failing to ensure the work was properly planned and supervised.

The HSE says Mr Flowers should have been using a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) because the ivy would have prevented his equipment gripping the pole properly.

Mr Bates said: “If a MEWP had been available it would have been used."

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