‘Alarming failures’ lead to £500k fine
South West Highways Limited (SWHL) was recently fined after the death of a worker who was struck by a vehicle.
Exeter Crown Court heard how the 48-year old employee was working with colleagues to repair roads in Tiverton, Devon on 29 January 2013 when he sustained fatal injuries after being struck by a vehicle being driven by a member of the public
The Health and Safety Executive’s investigation found the company failed to adequately identify the risks associated with the road repair work and moving traffic, and as a result the appropriate control measures were not implemented.
The HSE adds that this incident could have been prevented had SWHL implemented the correct safety measures including signage, temporary speed limits, temporary traffic management and even closure of the road for a short period of time. It was found the planning for this work activity had failed to consider the most appropriate way to manage traffic while carrying out the road repairs.
South West Highways Limited of Rockbeare Hill, Exeter, Devon pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
The company was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,924.46.
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Caroline Penwill said: “The failures exposed in this case are alarming, given the clear and obvious risks associated with roadside work and highlight the importance of managing short term works on a high speed road.
“This incident could have been prevented had South West Highways implemented suitable traffic management for this work.”
With employees who drive for business more likely to be killed at work than deep sea divers or coal miners, driver safety is a vital business consideration.
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