A Wiltshire based estate agents has been fined after a member of the public they were showing round a property fell 30ft down a well.
Swindon Magistrates Court heard how, during an open house viewing the prospective buyer stepped onto a wooden board which was covering a well. The board gave way and she fell 30ft down the well, where she became submerged by water. A hosepipe was thrown to the woman and she managed to secure it around her waist it was another hour before she was rescued from the well. The incident left the victim with head injuries, including concussion but also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the estate agents had been warned about the well and the board that was covering it did not look safe. The company did not properly investigate if there was a risk of people falling down the well when they were viewing the property.
Strakers (Holdings) Limited of Market Place, Devizes, Wiltshire pleaded guilty to breaching section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,474.