April 4, 2018

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BT fined £90k for putting public at risk during streetworks

British Telecom (BT) has been prosecuted by Transport for London (TfL) for putting the public at risk during streetworks in London.

During works at Bishopsgate in August 2017, part of TfL’s strategic road network, BT failed to properly sign and guard the work area and also used the wrong traffic management methods.

Failed to take action

Despite repeated demands by TfL, BT also failed to take actions to improve the situation, leading to unsafe conditions for road users, pedestrians and cyclists.

BT pleaded guilty to the unsafe execution of streetworks, with significant risk to public safety, at Westminster Magistrates Court on 28 March. It was fined £90,000 and ordered to pay a further £3,394 in court costs.

Second time

It is the second time in 12 months TfL has taken the utility company to court for unsafe working practices as part of its commitment to tackle poorly managed, or unsafe roadworks.

The prosecution follows unsafe work carried out on Streatham Hill, Lambeth on 1 March 2017. In this instance, BT failed to properly sign and guard the working area, which meant that pedestrians were able to walk dangerously close to heavy plant and machinery.

Disconnect with contractors

In passing sentence, the District Judge said: “There is clearly a disconnect between BT and its contractors, consistently resulting in a number of these breaches, which must be fixed by BT to avoid future offences.

“It took over a day for BT to rectify these faults despite the works taking place in a busy part of the City of London with substantial impact on traffic. The response was unacceptably slow in my view and I hope that is reflected in my sentence.”

Glynn Barton, TfL’s director of network management, said: “The safety of the public and workers should be top priority when undertaking roadworks. We have prosecuted BT for streetworks offences 47 times since 2010 and they still continue to breach the rules.

“It is absolutely vital that companies such as BT ensure safety on site and we will always push for the strongest possible action against those that put the public at risk.

“We are working with utility companies, including BT, to ensure that roadworks are carried out safely in the future, with minimal disruption to road users.”

 

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That’s an average of nearly 6 prosecutions per year, I think BT are taking the Michael so to speak. Obviously the fines are having little effect, maybe if people were prosecuted and fined action would be taken to address the short comings.

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