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TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT CONTRACTOR PROSECUTED

Workman struck by vehicle and died collecting traffic cones on motorway

R P Traffic Management Ltd, of Newport, Wales has been fined £100k at Cardiff Crown Court after failing to ensure the safety of two trainee traffic management operatives. The company was also ordered to pay £22k in prosecution costs.

The firm install and remove signage, cones and other materials to manage the flow and speed of traffic when construction works and other activities take place on roads.

The prosecution arises from a incident on the M4 motorway near Cardiff in which Sean Luke Hale, 30, was hit by a car while crossing the carriageway to collect traffic cones from the central reservation during road resurfacing of the busy motorway in 2006.

The HSE investigation found that R P Traffic Management Ltd failed to ensure that a safe system of work was in place including appropriate signs to warn drivers that workmen were on the carriageway at the time.

Trainees not supervised effectively
The deceased workman and his co-worker were trainees and the quality of supervision was “called into question” by HSE. The court heard both men were observed crossing the carriageway in a dangerous manner on a number of occasions on the same night.

HSE inspector Wayne Williams said:

“On the night in question, the gang of three workers consisted of one foreman and two trainees. This was not adequate supervision in what is a high risk working environment.

Trainee roadworkers should always be under a high level of supervision when undertaking this kind of work as part of an overall safe system of work on the job.

Everyone involved in work on high speed roads should learn from this tragedy and consider whether they are doing enough to prevent needless deaths and injuries. Motorway works can be very dangerous places unless a high degree of control is maintained.

Advanced warning signs should always be used when people are working on motorway roadworks to alert drivers that people may be in the road and exercise caution as they approach.”

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