Construction firm Balfour Beatty has been fined £1million after a worker lost his life while repairing a central reservation barrier damaged in a road traffic collision.
Canterbury Crown Court in Kent heard how, on 1 October 2012, a team was sent out by Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering Ltd, a subsidiary of Balfour Beatty PLC, to install temporary traffic management in order to repair barriers on the A2 at the location of a collision site.
The crew were trying to remove the footings of a post that had snapped off using a lorry mounted crane. The lorry slipped from the concrete footing and the crane swung back towards the barrier, hitting the worker on the head.
Larry Newman, aged 37, sustained severe head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering Ltd, of Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, was fined a total of £1million and ordered to pay £14,977 in costs after pleading guilty to offences under Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Cousins said: “This was an entirely preventable incident that could have been averted by simply creating and implementing a safe system of work. If a suitably sized excavator had been used to remove the footing mechanically it would have prevented this tragic loss of life completely.
“Employers have a responsibility to create safe systems of work for hazardous activities that their workers may be undertaking. The workers should be trained in safe systems of working and adequately supervised. Safety needs to be proactively managed and not just left to chance”.
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