Openreach engineer, 32, slipped and was swept to his loss of life attempting to repair telephone line throughout river as agency is fined £1.3million for failing to make sure his security

An Openreach engineer had slipped and was swept to his loss of life when attempting to repair a telephone line, a courtroom has heard.

Alun Owen, 32, a loyal father of twins, aged 5, had drowned in October 2020 on the River Aber, close to Bangor. 

Llandudno Magistrates’ Courtroom heard how Mr Owen was working alone when he determined to connect a telephone line to a hammer and throw it throughout the river earlier than making the reconnection.

As he entered the very excessive and fast-flowing water, a close-by householder instructed him: ‘Simply depart it, the restore is not vital.’

However Mr Owen tried to get the job completed and entered the river because the householder shouted: ‘Do not try this.’, earlier than he slipped and was swept away.

Openreach pleaded responsible to to breaching well being and security legal guidelines for workers working close to water and had been fined £1.34m by district decide Gwyn Jones on Wednesday. 

Alun Owen (pictured) drowned in October 2020 at Aber, close to Bangor, Gwynedd

Emergency services at the scene as a huge search was launched after the Openreach engineer was swept away by the river

Emergency companies on the scene as an enormous search was launched after the Openreach engineer was swept away by the river 

Prosecutor Nathan Cook dinner, for the Well being and Security Govt, stated Openreach failed to offer enough instruction and coaching in regards to the dangers of working round water and had allowed Mr Owen to work alone.

Openreach had a pc coaching course but it surely wasn’t obligatory for workers to finish, the courtroom heard.

The Communication Staff Union had felt the course was important.

Mr Cook dinner stated: ‘On the time of Alun’s accident 518 Openreach engineers had accomplished the course engaged on or close to water. There are round 25,000 Openreach engineers.’

Mr Owen’s widow Ceri, a instructor, learn a heartrending influence assertion to the courtroom. She stated: ‘The lack of Alun has brought about extreme upset and trauma for the entire household.’

Defence KC Dominic Kay stated the corporate expressed ‘real and honest regret’ to the household. ‘Alun was a really well-respected and well-liked member of his staff,’ counsel remarked.

Defence KC Dominic Kay stated Mr Owen continued along with his plan after being instructed to ‘depart it’ by the householder.

‘That’s not a criticism, it’s proof of somebody attempting to assist and get the job completed,’ he added.

District decide Gwyn Jones ordered Openreach to pay £16,000 prices.

He stated: ‘The effective should replicate the seriousness of the offence and bear in mind the monetary circumstances of the corporate. The punishment that the courtroom has imposed won’t take away the ache and trauma suffered by the household of Alun Owen.

‘Alun was a much-loved husband, father, son, brother, good friend and colleague to many. Phrases cannot specific the persevering with ache which the household and associates will endure for a few years.

‘All this case does is deliver an finish to at least one chapter on this very unhappy case. Well being and security are issues taken significantly by the corporate.’

Emergency service workers attended the incident after Mr Owen decided to attach a phone line to a hammer and throw it across the river before making the reconnection

Emergency service employees attended the incident after Mr Owen determined to connect a telephone line to a hammer and throw it throughout the river earlier than making the reconnection

Mr Owen’s household stated after the case: ‘This has been a particularly lengthy and painful journey for the household. While we acknowledge Openreach have pleaded responsible right this moment, that plea, put in easy phrases, is a rigorously measured damage-limitation train triggered by the overwhelming proof levied towards them.

‘There was by no means any doubt that Openreach had been fully culpable for inflicting Al’s loss of life – a loss of life that was preventable and a loss of life that resulted within the lack of a valuable and cherished member of the household, who was additionally dearly treasured by his broad circle of associates.

‘Openreach displayed a torpid method to and an absence of funding in acceptable coaching and gear for his or her staff while working close to water, demonstrating a complete disregard in the direction of the security of their workforce.

‘The grief of the household intensified after studying Openreach did have specialist assets that would have been deployed to evaluate and reply to this reported fault in Abergwyngregyn on the sixth of October 2020, with out having to place the lives of others in danger. Openreach selected to not. That call is indefensible.

‘Moreover, the investigation instigated by North Wales Police and subsequently finalised by the Well being and Security Govt unearthed different flagrant dangers, hid inside Openreach working practices, that additionally uncovered their staff to extra hazard. That lethargy by Openreach to handle these types of points subjected their workforce to pointless peril and finally value Al his life.

‘What’s extraordinarily disappointing, all through the years which have handed, is Openreach displaying a complete lack of empathy in the direction of the household when making an attempt to handle a few of their shortcomings after Al’s loss of life. That’s inexcusable.

‘We make it completely clear that no monetary penalty will afford us with any sense of justice right here, notably when thought-about towards the monetary buoyancy of Openreach.

Openreach pleaded guilty to failing to ensure Mr Owen's safety and were fined £1.34m by district judge Gwyn Jones at Llandudno Magistrates' Court (pictured)

Openreach pleaded responsible to failing to make sure Mr Owen’s security and had been fined £1.34m by district decide Gwyn Jones at Llandudno Magistrates’ Courtroom (pictured) 

‘The effective imposed is inconsequential and doesn’t diminish the ache, nor does it reduce the void that has been left since Al was taken away from us. We recognise that Openreach have now been compelled to handle a few of their well being and security inadequacies, hopefully guaranteeing that no different household endures the ache and misery that has been brought on by Al’s loss of life.

‘The one optimistic word that we will take away from this tragic occasion, is the power that we discovered within the assist, compassion and empathy from household, associates and certainly the broader group – which continues to this very day and is heartfelt and welcome.

‘The real love and affection proven to us for the reason that tragedy that unfolded on the sixth of October 2020 is an actual testimony to Al and the way everybody simply liked his pleasant, loving and selfless character.

‘Though it is generally tough to see past the sorrow, we are going to preserve his reminiscence alive by reminiscing these many valuable moments he had in his love-filled life.’ 

An Openreach spokesperson stated: ‘Nothing can ever make up for the lack of Alun. He was a really well-respected and well-liked colleague, and the influence of his loss of life stays vital and is felt immediately by individuals throughout Openreach. We lengthen our deepest sympathies to his household and associates.

‘As an organisation, we settle for that we may’ve completed extra to verify our engineers had the proper steerage, processes and coaching when engaged on, or close to, water. We’re very sorry that we fell wanting the required requirements, and we deeply remorse the lack of Alun, in addition to the influence on his household, associates and colleagues.

‘The protection of our total workforce, prospects and the general public stays our precedence, and we’re working exhausting to verify one thing like this by no means occurs once more.’

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