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December 15, 2023

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Newport City Council fined £2m after man killed carrying out road repair

Newport City Council has been fined £2million after a man was killed while carrying out road repair works.

Stephen Bell was barrowing tarmac from the back of the local authority’s tipper lorry when he was struck by a farm vehicle passing the road works on 18 July 2019.

Stephen Bell. Credit: HSE

Cardiff Crown Court heard how Stephen, who was 57, and his colleagues had been carrying out resurfacing repairs on the section of Langstone Court Road that runs beneath the M4 motorway.

At the time of the incident a Newport City Council team leader and the four highway operatives were working on foot and authorised to be on the site.

Working environment not safe

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the council did not take all reasonably practicable steps to organise a safe working environment by ensuring there was a suitable and sufficient safety zone between the road works area and the running lane (the live part of the carriageway), as well as securing the perimeter of the road works site against road workers entering the running lane.

Stephen’s wife, Jenny said: “I do not have the words to express the pain my family and I felt when we heard the news and losing him so suddenly has taken its toll on us all and has left us all heart broken.

“Stephen was a kind, caring and a hardworking man who loved his family very much.”

“Nothing will bring my husband back and no matter what justice takes place, it will never be enough to compensate my family and I for what we have all lost.

“I just want to make sure nothing like this ever happens again so that no other families experience what we have experienced.”

“Devastating impact”

Newport City Council, Civic Centre, Godfrey Road, Newport, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £2million and ordered to pay costs of £9,780.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Philip Nicolle said: “The council’s failures have had a devastating impact on Stephen Bell’s family.

“This tragic incident could so easily have been avoided if the council had simply carried out correct control measures and safe working practices.

“We will not hesitate to take action against those that fall below the required standards.

“Our thoughts remain with Mrs Bell and those who knew and loved Stephen.”

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3 months ago

Sadly can see council workers in unprotected or badly protected road works so often. The council should be made to explain to their tax payers on bills how much that £2m has affected the budget because of their poor safety management. This could help make elected councillors more focused on overseeing H&S standards.