Sellafield worker breaks back in 3m ladder fall

Sellafield was fined £400,000 after a maintenance worker suffered serious back injuries when he fell 3m from a scaffolding ladder at the nuclear site.

An employee of the nuclear decommissioning firm, he was carrying out repair work in a low active chamber at the Magnox Reprocessing Facility at the Cumbrian site when the accident happened.

The maintenance fitter was in the process of fixing a leaking pipeline within the reprocessing facility.

On 12 October 2021, the fitter and his colleague entered the chamber to carry out repair work, which was slippery due to the leaking acid.

While attempting to climb down the ladder, one worker suffered a fall of around 3m, sustaining fractures to his vertebrae.

“Life-changing” injuries

His injuries were described as life-changing, with his mobility still significantly affected, preventing him from returning to work.

In a prosecution brought by the Office for Nuclear Regulation at Carlisle Magistrates Court, Sellafield Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the health and safety of its employees in relation to the risks arising while undertaking maintenance and repair work.

“Entirely avoidable”

After the hearing, Paul Dicks, ONR’s Director of Regulation – Sellafield, said: “This accident was entirely avoidable. Nobody should go to work and not come home in a fit and healthy state.

“A thorough investigation by the Office for Nuclear Regulation identified multiple and significant failings by Sellafield Ltd during a prolonged period.

“There was a failure to adequately plan, organise and deliver this task to repair a leaking pipe.

“The risks were not adequately controlled and there were failures in the risk assessment.

“We concluded that there were several missed opportunities that could have prevented this accident occurring.”

ONR’s investigation revealed a series of significant failings to provide a safe system of work.

Read the story in full here Sellafield worker breaks back in 3m ladder fall | Construction Enquirer News.