October 18, 2019

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In Court

Bus company and council fined after passenger death

A local council and a bus company have been fined after a passenger was killed when she was run over by a lorry during the construction of Bedford Bus Station.

Bedford bus stationSt Albans Crown Court heard how on 13 February 2015, Nicola Berridge stepped off the bus and was run over by a grab lorry as she walked across a pedestrian crossing at the bus station. She suffered fatal injuries. The grab lorry was delivering sand to a contractor, as the bus station had been demolished and was being reconstructed at the time.

Investigating, the HSE found that the visibility at this crossing was obstructed by buses which had been permitted to park on double-yellow lines between the crossings for several years. Bedford Borough Council and Cambus Limited, and a bus station operator failed to coordinate and cooperate with one another to manage pedestrian and vehicle interaction within the bus station. They had joint responsibility to assess the risk to members of the public from vehicle movements within the bus station and to put in place reasonably measures to reduce that risk so far as was reasonably practicable.

Bedford Borough Council of Cauldwell Street, Bedford pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of Health and Safety at Work etc Act, was fined £300,000 with costs of £16,803.59.

Cambus Limited of Cowley Road, Cambridge pleaded not guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of Health and Safety at Work etc Act. It was found guilty and fined £350,000 and ordered to pay costs which are still to be agreed, reports the HSE.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Emma Page said: “There were inadequate control measures in place to segregate vehicles and pedestrians at the site and lack of proper planning in terms of pedestrian access and egress to the bus station.

“Hazards associated with vehicles and pedestrians in the same location, particularly the case in a facility such as a bus station in the centre of a busy town, are well known and easily controlled using reasonably practicable precautions.”

Watch: Most-read fines and prosecutions in September 2019.

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