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GAS COMPANY FINED FOR UNSAFE ROADWORKS

Dangerously placed metal plate over road trench ‘flipped’ car and driver

Southern Gas Networks has been fined £20,000 after a car was “flipped on its side” when it struck a metal plate during road works on the Isle of Wight on 2 April 2008. 

Workmen lifted a large metal road plate using an excavator ready to be moved later. A car hit the plate flipping on its side, leaving the driver with severe bruising. The driver had to be cut from the car by the fire service following the incident and the car was written off.

HSE investigators found that the 2.5 metre-long plate (used to cover trenches in the road) had been raised six to eight inches from the ground in order to make it easier to be collected later. The road plate was protruding some two feet beyond a line of parked cars into oncoming traffic.

Public protection is paramount

The company pleaded guilty to breaching CDM 2007 Regulation 37(3) at a previous hearing.

HSE Inspector Jane Beckmann said:

“The driver suffered severe bruising and longer lasting ill health effects as a result of this incident which could easily have been avoided.

Southern Gas Networks had a duty to adequately protect road users when it moved the metal plate, and it failed to plan the work effectively. This meant that motorists were put in danger.

All companies must remember that they have a responsibility to protect not only their own staff, but also members of the public when they carry out work.”

Southern Gas Networks plc was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £13,523.

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