Construction company fined £2.345m after worker drowned in river

A construction company has been fined following the death of a worker.

Gary Webster lost his life two days after drowning in the River Aire on 30 October 2017.

Mr Webster and another worker had been on a boat removing debris at the bottom of the weir gates at Knostrop Weir when their boat capsized. The boat had been pulled into turbulent water, caused by the considerable flow of water flowing over the top of the weir.

The 60-year-old was repeatedly pulled under the water and was eventually recovered by a diver 14 minutes later, but was pronounced dead on 1 November 2017 at Leeds General Infirmary. The other worker managed to swim to safety.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found BAM Nuttall Ltd had several operatives who were trained and authorised to control the weir gates, so that the flow of the water could be slowed down. This would have allowed the debris to float away or be reached safely by boat. However, the company failed to carry out this task.

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