The death of lone worker Robert Geach at Falmouth Water Treatment Works in December 2013 was “an accident waiting to happen” according to the judge sitting at Truro Crown Court on 21 April 2017.

Robert had fallen into a filtration tank and drowned in 6.5 feet of water.  He had activated his lone worker alarm but 90 minutes passed before someone was sent to investigate and found him dead.

This tragic case highlights how vital it is for employers to carefully choose in-house responders who will definitely be available to take immediate action whenever an alarm is raised. When using an automated lone worker system, it is also important to ensure that the responders contact details are kept up-to-date and if there are any concerns about their availability then an external call centre should be used.

Following Robert’s death, South West Water reviewed their procedures, but have now been fined £1.8 million.