Social media

Javascript is required to use HSE website social media functionality.

Companies fined £450,000 after driver dies in roadworks

Date:
22 February 2013

Two companies have been ordered to pay a total of £650,000 in fines and costs after a member of the public was killed in a collision in roadworks on the A50 near Uttoxeter.

William Collins, 49, of Weston Coyney, Stoke-on-Trent, was driving along the westbound carriageway at around 4am on 25 November 2007 when he failed to negotiate a bend at a road closure and collided with a stationary flatbed lorry owned by Enterprise (AOL) Ltd.

The father of two died at the scene from multiple injuries.

The A50 was closed at the junction with the A522 while works were carried out to overhead power lines and the central reservation barrier. Enterprise (AOL) Ltd was responsible for the traffic management associated with the works, which were being managed by Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Services Ltd.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the traffic management was unsuitable as it was not clear that the road ahead was closed, and that drivers had to exit the A50 at the junction with the A522.

The investigation also identified that Enterprise (AOL) Ltd failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, and that Balfour Beatty failed to properly assess the risk assessment or that the system being proposed was adequate. In addition, Balfour Beatty also failed to adequately monitor the work of its sub-contractors.

The A50 had been reduced to one lane prior to the works and vehicles were then diverted off the main carriageway and onto the A522, which involved a sharp left hand bend. However, the speed limit had not been reduced so vehicles were still able to travel at up to 70mph.

Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Services Ltd, of Ashwood Way, Basingstoke, Hampshire, was today (22 February) fined £225,000 and ordered to pay £100,000 in costs at Liverpool Crown Court after being found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 following a two week trial at Stafford Crown Court in October 2012.

Enterprise (AOL) Ltd, of Centurion Way, Leyland, Lancashire, was also found guilty of the same offence, as well as breaching Regulation 3(1)(b) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 for failing to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. It was fined £225,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100,000.

Both companies have lodged an appeal against conviction.

After the hearing HSE inspector Katharine Walker said:

"Enterprise relied on a generic risk assessment for a lane closure rather than properly assessing the road and implementing a suitable system of traffic management for a full closure.

"As the organisation responsible for what happened on the road, Balfour Beatty should have checked the assessment and identified this failing.

"Instead a man was killed and never made it home – a tragic death that could have been avoided."

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety."
  3. Regulation 3(1)(b) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states: "Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking, for the purpose of identifying the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him by or under the relevant statutory provisions and by Part II of the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997."

Media contacts

Journalists should approach HSE press office with any queries on regional press releases.