Robert Geach drowning: South West Water was 'warned of safety hazards'

Robert and Sylvia Geach
Image caption Robert Geach drowned at a South West Water filtration tank

A company responsible for a water tank in which an employee drowned had already been warned there were safety hazards, an inquest has heard.

Robert Geach, 54, fell into a filtration tank at the Falmouth Water Treatment Works in December 2013.

An inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had raised concerns in 2009 about railing heights, trip hazards and working alone.

South West Water said since Mr Geach's death they have made further changes.

Mr Geach was working alone, unblocking a filter, when he fell. The inquest heard he had removed a grid that gave him access to valves above a sand filtration tank.

Procedure changes

Bob Trivett, a senior manager at South West Water, said a system was in place where an alarm would be activated if an automated call was not answered by lone workers.

He said on the evening Mr Geach died it was 90 minutes after he did not respond to a call before someone was sent to find out what had happened.

He said since Mr Geach's death they have made changes to the lone working procedure so if staff feel a task is too dangerous they are now encouraged to ask a colleague to join them.

Following the 2009 HSE concerns South West Water carried out risk assessments as sites including Falmouth.

Mr Trivett said Mr Geech himself had told an asset technician doing the assessment that the company did not do anything in the sand filtration tank, so it was not risk assessed.

The inquest continues in Truro.

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