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Coroner expresses concern over streetworks hole death

A coroner has said "more could have been done" to prevent a man falling to his death in a hole dug on behalf of Affinity Water.

Matthew Wilmot fell headfirst into a 5ft hole in Luton on 28 May last year after drinking at several pubs and watching the FA Cup final.

The inquest at Ampthill Coroner's Court heard the 40-year-old was drunk at the time of the incident but safety barriers had been removed from the hole, which was dug by contractors on behalf of Affinity Water.

John Gleasure, a senior supervisor from M&S Water, which was contracted by Amey to dig the hole, earlier told the inquest that barriers had been put up and the footpath was shut with signage, adding: "In my opinion we did all that we could."

The death was ruled accidental but acting senior coroner Ian Pears said: "I have great concerns about the location [of the hole], a single pathway with no alternative. More could have been done."

In a statement on its website, Affinity Water said: "Mr Wilmot’s death was a sad and tragic accident and our thoughts are with his family and friends.

"Each year, Affinity Water and our contractors undertake thousands of excavations to maintain the network of water pipes supplying water to 1.4 million homes and businesses in the south east of England.

"We are committed to ensuring, and expect those working on our behalf to ensure, that the public are protected at all times by following national standards for the fencing and signage of utility works."

Author: Robin Hackett, Deputy Editor, WWT and WET News
Topic: Contractors
Tags: Affinity Water , health and safety

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