A worker was injured after falling into a well containing raw sewage in a work accident.
The unnamed 34 year old was working for Tardis Environmental UK Ltd when the accident happened in August 2011. He was at an unfinished housing development where a sewage well had become blocked.
The pump in the well was blocked and the man was tasked with sorting out the problem. To do this he was using a pump hose that was attached to his road tanker. He opened the grid on top of the well and was stood next to it as he was supporting the hose.
However, whilst doing this, the hose kicked back and struck him. This caused him to fall into the well. He used the hose to help break his fall, but was left disorientated at the bottom of the well for 20 minutes. Eventually he managed to call for help using his mobile phone.
The man suffered friction burns in the fall from where he was using the hose to help slow his descent. He also suffered bruising to his head and legs and ingested some of the raw sewage.
The accident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive who found issue with the training the worker received. Although he had been trained in the use of pumping equipment, he had not received specific training on emptying the deep wells and the fall from height risk.
Although the man was working from ground level, the deep height of the below ground well meant that he should have been provided with safety equipment such as a harness.
This week the company pleaded guilty to breaking health and safety law in regards to the accident and were fined £15,000.