Fine for BT after engineer’s ‘gross misconduct’

FIREFIGHTERS RESCUED A pensioner when he fell down a hatch that had been left open by a BT engineer who was working in her home.

Elgin Sheriff Court learned this week that the emergency services had to be called to help Jessie Raffan who suffered broken bones from the fall – she was then reliant on walking aids until her death two years later.

The telecommunications giant admitted health and safety failings that led to the incident at Mrs Raffan’s Rothiemay home on August 20, 2011 and were fined £5000 for the offence.

Mrs Raffan was alone at her home when BT Openreach engineer David Mitchell called to repair a telephone line. He had to access a hallway hatch to enable him to reach the faulty cable and moved furniture around the hatchway rather than using a safety guard provided for the job.

Mrs Raffan fell through the hole when the engineer left the house to get a torch from his van.

Fiscal Geoffrey Main explained to the court that Mr Mitchell was away “for a matter of minutes” and when he returned saw Mrs Raffan’s walking frame behind the armchair and heard a groan.

Mr Mitchell was subsequently found guilty of “gross misconduct” but was not sacked having put in 34 unblemished years of service – instead he was issued with a final warning and docked 5% of his pay for 18 months.