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MAJOR ROADS FIRM FAILED TO MANAGE PUBLIC RISK

Motorcyclist left paralysed after collision with traffic signs

Carillion AM Government Ltd been fined for serious safety failings after a motorcyclist suffered devastating injuries and was left paralysed following a collision with traffic signs. Glynn Turner, aged 47, was riding his motorcycle south on the A12 on the evening of 7 June 2010 when he collided with the traffic signs at the junction with the B1121 in Saxmundham.

Mr Turner sustained multiple injuries and is unable to move any part of his body or communicate. He needs 24-hour residential care and his family have been told there is no prospect of a recovery.

Ipswich Crown Court heard (7 November 2013) that the company was responsible for placing a series of road signs warning that the road was closed and directing traffic along a diversion route. 

The ‘Roadworks Ahead’ signs should have been erected at intervals of around 800, 400 and 200 metres in advance of the closure, and information signs alerting road users should have also been placed at up to one kilometre in advance.

However, HSE found that the first indication of the road closure was just 175 metres before the closure where a large yellow information board had been placed. The speed limit was 50mph leaving little time for traffic to slow down and avoid a collision.

Failure to comply with the industry code of practice

Carillion AM Government Ltd, of Birch Street, Wolverhampton, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined a total of £180,000 and ordered to pay £28,551 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Sandy Carmichael said:

“This was a tragic incident that was utterly life-changing, not just for Mr Turner but also for his wife and family. He was an experienced driver who travelled that route regularly between his home in Ipswich and his work in Sizewell.

Had Carillion complied with the industry’s code of practice and correctly placed temporary warning signs to alert motorists in good time to the roadworks, this dreadful incident could have been avoided.

Sadly, as a result of the company’s failure to take simple safety measures, road users were put at serious risk and Mr Turner was so badly injured that he has been left completely paralysed.

Roadworks provide increased risk in what is already a very hazardous environment. Anyone doing work on our roads must take great care to warn road users in good time what to expect on the road ahead.”

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