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Balfour Beatty appeals £250,000 road death fine

Balfour Beatty Infrastructure and Lancashire-based Enterprise (AOL) have appealed after being found guilty of health and safety breaches and fined £250,000 each.

Liverpool Crown Court also ordered both firms to pay costs of £100,000 each on Friday. The charges were imposed after a member of the public was killed in a roadworks collision on the A50 near Uttoxeter.

William Collins, 49, was driving on the westbound carriageway at around 4am in 2007, when he failed to negotiate a road closure bend and collided with a stationary Enterprise flatbed lorry. The father of two died at the scene.

The A50 was closed at the junction with the A522 while works were carried out on overhead power lines and the central reservation barrier.

Enterprise was responsible for the traffic management for the works, which were being managed by Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Services.

A Balfour Beatty spokesman said: “An appeal against the conviction has been lodged and we await the outcome of this appeal.

“The safety of its employees and the public is always Balfour Beatty’s prime concern.

“Our thoughts remain with the family of the individual involved.”

Balfour Beatty Rail Track Systems fined £49,000

On the same day as the Liverpool ruling, Nottingham Crown Court hit Balfour Beatty Rail Track Systems with fines and costs of almost £50,000 for two health and safety incidents involving a rail track conveyor.

Keith Hawley, 64, of Chaddesdon, Derby, was twice trapped in a machine in 2009 and 2010, suffering flesh wounds, broken fingers and a partial amputation of one finger.

He was using the machine to press a segment of rail track.

The Nottingham Court heard that, although the company was in the process of fitting a guarding system in response to the first incident, the task had not been completed.

A Balfour Beatty spokeman said: “Balfour Beatty acknowledges the verdict of the court today.

“Although we no longer operate the Sandiacre manufacturing plant where this incident occurred, the company will use the guidance given by the Health and Safety Executive and the court to ensure that these types of accidents are prevented in the future across all Balfour Beatty operations.

“Balfour Beatty takes the safety of all its employees very seriously and we were pleased that this was acknowledged in today’s judgement.”

A Health and Safety Executive investigation found the traffic management to be unsuitable, as the road closure was not clear.

The investigation also identified that Enterprise had failed to carry out a “suitable and sufficient” risk assessment and that Balfour Beatty failed to properly assess the risk assessment or the adequacy of the system.

The HSE added that Balfour Beatty had failed to adequately monitor the work of its subcontractors.

The A50 had been reduced to one lane prior to the works, involving a sharp bend as vehicles were diverted onto the A522, but the HSE said the speed limit had not been reduced from 70mph.

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.”

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