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    MAJOR CONTRACTOR PROSECUTED OVER MOTORWAY FATALITY

    Workman died following M25 tunnel refurb traffic management failure

    Carillion Highway Maintenance Limited and Traffic Management (North East) Limited have been fined a total of £202,000 after an employee of a fencing contractor died whilst working on the M25 motorway in August 2004.

    Christopher Lewis, was carrying out fencing work close to the Holmesdale Tunnel section of the M25 in north London when he was crushed between a van and safety barrier after a lorry jack-knifed on the motorway.

    Southwark Crown Court heard that Carillion was undertaking repairs to overhead lighting in the tunnel whilst Traffic Management (North East) Limited (TMNE) provided an overnight contraflow. CD Fencing and Construction Services Limited were removing and restoring wire rope safety fencing in the central reservation.

    The repair work had been completed and Mr Lewis was with a colleague in a closed lane waiting to reinstate the safety fencing so the traffic management equipment could be removed. A lorry jack-knifed in the contraflow system and hit cones and a stationary CD Fencing van sending the van careering towards the hard shoulder. 

    Mr Lewis was later found pinned between the van and a safety barrier at the rear of the hard shoulder. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

    Traffic management arrangements inadequate

    Carillion Highway Maintenance Limited pleaded guilty to a breach of HSW act 1974 Section 3(1) and was fined £200,000 with £50,000 costs.

    Traffic Management (North East) Limited was found guilty of breaching HSW Act 1974 Sections 2(1) and 3(1) and fined was £2,000 with costs of £120,000. The company is in administration.

    The jury failed to agree on a charge against CD Fencing Ltd under HSW Act Section 2(1) and was formally acquitted when the prosecution concluded it was not in the public interest to proceed to re-trial.

    The driver of the lorry was convicted of driving without due care and attention in a case brought by the Crown Prosecution Service.

    After the hearing, HSE Principal Inspector Andy Beal said:

    “Although the lorry driver was not blameless, Carillion and TMNE failed to do enough to protect Mr. Lewis and others working in the road that night.

    Speed limits were too high, there was a poor cone layout through the contraflow and there was inadequate management of subcontractors. Had both firms met their legal responsibilities, this collision could have been avoided.

    The risks associated with work on high speed roads are well known and it is vital traffic management systems are correctly set up and well established safe guards are followed when people are working within them.”

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