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MAJOR CONTRACTORS APPEAL CONVICTION OVER ROAD DEATH

Unsuitable roadworks traffic management triggered fatal collision

Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Services Ltd and Enterprise (AOL) Ltd, have been ordered to pay a total of £650,000 in fines and prosecution costs after a member of the public died following a collision in roadworks on the A50 near Uttoxeter on 25th November 2007.

William Collins, 49, of Stoke-on-Trent, was driving at around 4am when he failed to negotiate a bend at a road closure and collided with a stationary flatbed lorry owned by Enterprise (AOL) Ltd and died at the scene.

Enterprise (AOL) Ltd was responsible for the traffic management on works being managed by Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Services Ltd. HSE investigators found: 

  • traffic management was unsuitable as it was not clear that the road ahead was closed;
  • a suitable and sufficient risk assessment had not been carried out by Enterprise and the assessment or TM system proposed was not properly assessed by Balfour; and
  • work of sub-contractors was not adequately monitored by Balfour.

The A50 had been reduced to one lane prior to the works and vehicles were diverted off the main carriageway and onto the A522, which involved a sharp left hand bend. However, the speed limit had not been reduced so vehicles were still able to travel at up to 70mph.

Reliance on generic risk assessment that was not checked

Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Services Ltd, of Basingstoke, Hampshire, was fined (22 Feb) £225,000 and ordered to pay £100,000 in costs at Liverpool Crown Court after being found guilty of breaching HSW Act Section 3(1) following a two week trial at Stafford Crown Court in October 2012.

Enterprise (AOL) Ltd, of Leyland, was also found guilty of the same offence and for breaching Regulation 3(1)(b) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 for failing to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. It was fined £225,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100,000.

Both companies have lodged an appeal against conviction.

After the hearing HSE inspector Katharine Walker said:

“Enterprise relied on a generic risk assessment for a lane closure rather than properly assessing the road and implementing a suitable system of traffic management for a full closure.

As the organisation responsible for what happened on the road, Balfour Beatty should have checked the assessment and identified this failing.

Instead a man was killed and never made it home – a tragic death that could have been avoided.”

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