Balfour Beatty and Enterprise fined after motorist killed

Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Services and Enterprise (AOL) have been fined £500,000 after a driver was killed in a collision in roadworks

The Health and Safety Executive said William Collins, 49, of Weston Coyney, Stoke-on-Trent, was driving along the westbound carriageway on the A50 near Uttoxeter at around 4am on 25 November 2007 when he failed to negotiate a bend at a road closure and collided with a stationary flatbed lorry owned by Enterprise (AOL).

The father of two died at the scene from multiple injuries.

The A50 was closed at the junction with the A522 while works were carried out to overhead power lines and the central reservation barrier.

Enterprise (AOL) Ltd was responsible for the traffic management associated with the works which were being managed by Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Services.

An HSE investigation found that the traffic management was unsuitable as it was not clear that the road ahead was closed, and that drivers had to exit the A50 at the junction with the A522. The investigation also identified that Enterprise (AOL) Ltd failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, and that Balfour Beatty failed to properly assess the risk assessment or that the system being proposed was adequate.

In addition, Balfour Beatty also failed to adequately monitor the work of its subcontractors.

The A50 had been reduced to one lane prior to the works and vehicles were then diverted off the main carriageway and onto the A522, which involved a sharp left hand bend.

But the speed limit had not been reduced so vehicles were still able to travel at up to 70mph.

Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Services Ltd, was fined £250,000 and ordered to pay £100,000 in costs at Liverpool Crown Court after being found guilty of safety breaches.

Enterprise (AOL) Ltd, of Leyland, Lancashire was also found guilty of the same offence and was fined £250,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100,000.

Both companies have lodged an appeal against conviction.

Meanwhile, a Balfour Beatty rail business has been fined £8000 and ordered to pay £41,438 costs after a man suffered serious hand injuries in two separate incidents less than a year apart.

The HSE said the fine came after a Balfour Beatty Rail Track Systems worker twice injured his hands after they became trapped between the rail and a conveyor roller.

The HSE said he suffered flesh wounds and a broken finger on the first occasion in May 2009, but on the second occasion in March 2010, the other hand was seriously injured, with the little finger on his left hand severely crushed and his ring finger partially amputated.

Nottingham Crown Court heard last week that an investigation by the HSE found that on both occasions the machine did not have adequate guarding to protect workers.

The court heard that the company was in the process of fitting a guarding system in response to the first incident, but had not completed the task.

Balfour Beatty Rail Track Systems, of Station Road, Redhill, Surrey, was found guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 for failing to provide a safe system of work. The firm was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £41,438.

HSE inspector Berian Price said: “Both of these incidents were preventable. Guarding could and should have been provided, but there were other systems of work in the company’s operating manuals that could have been used, such as using an overhead crane to move the rail or using a pulling bracket. Instead workers like Keith Hawley were left to their own devices and adopted an unsafe system that exposed them to injury risk.

“The fact that this incident happened once was bad enough but for it to have happened a second time, to the same man, is deplorable. Balfour Beatty Rail Track Systems is a large organisation with a lot of resources. They should have acted a lot quicker than they did. Mr Hawley has suffered unnecessarily as a result of their failings.”

 

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