Contractors hit with £2m fine after worker breaks leg

Grant Prior 1 year ago
Share

Three companies have been fined more than £2m at Lincoln Crown Court after a worker’s leg was broken in six places when a trench collapsed on him.

Vincent Talbot, 47, from Lincoln, suffered serious leg injuries when he was crushed in the incident at Fleet Street, Holbeach, Lincolnshire on 9 March 2012.

He was trapped in the trench for 15 minutes before being extracted by the fire and rescue service and then airlifted to hospital.

His right ankle has been left permanently damaged, pointing 10 degrees off line. He was off work for more than a year and vowed never to work in a trench again.

An HSE investigation found insufficient measures were taken to protect those working in trench, and a series of safety errors had led to the collapse.

Principal contractor, Kier MG Ltd, was appointed by Lincolnshire County Council to install new storm drains.

The accident happened before Kier acquired May Gurney in 2013.

Kier MG Ltd subcontracted the installation work to John Henry & Sons (Civil Engineers) Ltd, who subsequently further sub-contracted the work to Lawless Civils Ltd.

Talbot was a self- employed contractor hired by Lawless Civils Ltd.

John Henry & Sons (Civil Engineers) Ltd, failed to inform Kier MG of the appointment of Lawless Civils Ltd.

Lawless were approved contractors of Kier MG but not approved for this type of specialist excavation work.

Lawless appointed a supervisor who had never supervised work, he did not have the relevant training and qualifications to do so.

After the accident John Henry & Sons (Civil Engineers) Ltd, backdated the method statement to give the impression that it was signed by the workers prior to the trench collapsing.

A three-metre long trench box shielded workers but the pipes being laid in the trench were six metres long, meaning workers weren’t protected over the length of the pipe.

Other trench support systems such as trench sheeting were not used, and the unsupported trench had water leaking into it.

The trench had been left open overnight and concrete was being used to bed the pipes in at the bottom of the trench, instead of pea gravel as specified by the client.

Water mixed with the concrete, making the pipe levelling process extremely difficult as the level of the pipe bed had to be continuously adjusted.

When Talbot was attempting to level a pipe section for a second time, the sides of the trench collapsed and trapped him.

Kier MG Ltd (formerly known as May Gurney Ltd) of Sandy, Bedfordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching the CDM regulations and were fined £1.5m and ordered to pay £23,327.83 costs.

John Henry & Sons (Civil Engineers) Ltd of, Cambridge denied the charge but was found guilty of a safety breach. They were fined £550,000 and ordered to pay £166,217.86.

Lawless Civils Ltd of Lincoln, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and were fined £40,500 and ordered to pay costs of £53,346.59.

John Edwards, Kier Group Safety, Health, Environment and Assurance Director said: “This incident happened in 2012 and before Kier acquired May Gurney in 2013.

“Since the acquisition, the safety performance of May Gurney has improved significantly, with the Accident Incidence Rate reducing from 736 to 226.

“Operating a safe and sustainable business is Kier’s number one priority. We have developed an industry-leading reputation for our rigorous approach to managing safety issues and for developing new approaches to safe working.

“We maintain our focus on the continuous improvement of safety standards.”

HSE inspector Martin Waring said: “This incident was foreseeable and avoidable and Mr Talbot’s injuries were the result of multiple failings by the duty holders, from the planning stage through to the execution of the project, resulting in the inevitable collapse of an unsupported trench. Sufficient trench support systems were not provided.

“Even while the excavation phase had begun, a catalogue of errors and omissions led to the injuries of Vincent Talbot.

“It is inevitable that at some time an unsupported trench will collapse, for this reason safe systems of work, should be in place in order to protect persons who work in trenches. We could easily have been dealing with a fatal incident.”

Latest news

Network Rail to pay Carillion workers for next three months

Suppliers will also be paid for work carried out post-insolvency
21 hours ago

Carillion bankers set up £225m fund to help subcontractors

Task force launched to help stricken supply chain
2 days ago

HS2 reveals 3.4km Colne Valley viaduct design

New sleek-look railway viaduct will be one of the longest in the country
1 day ago

Barratt to build 2,700 homes in Swindon

House builder will invest over £180m in infrastructure and housing
1 day ago

Balfour Beatty in talks to head off more Crossrail strikes

Unite union announces plans for four more days of industrial action
1 day ago

Survey drone hits crane on construction site

Air accident investigators called in after drone strike
1 day ago

CITB calls on contractors to save Carillion apprentices

Skills body could be £3.8m better off following collapse
2 days ago

Betting Spy: West Ham and Leicester at the double

Hammers can beat Bournemouth despite yet another injury to Andy Carroll
2 days ago

Opinion: Carillion legacy must be pay and procurement reform

Carillion car-crash must finally jolt industry and government into action
2 days ago

Boost your online presence with the new Enquirer Directory

New site for suppliers and buyers will showcase their products, services and latest stories
3 months ago

Barratt London shelves 27-storey Aldgate tower project

Barratt abandons Phase 2 of city fringe tower scheme
3 days ago

Banks pledge not to pull plug on Carillion subcontractors

High street lenders promise raft of measure to help small businesses
3 days ago

NAO challenges value of PFI contracts

Little evidence PFI offers more construction cost certainty or operating efficiency, says watchdog
2 days ago

Skanska UK on alert as group plans 3,000 job cuts

Skanska Group says UK business focus to switch to core markets
3 days ago

Sheffield United submits plan for South Stand

Championship club plans landmark stand raising capacity to 38,000 seats
2 days ago

Kier fined £100,000 for hospital oil spill

Leak at Dorset hospital site lands contractor in court
2 days ago

Carillion sites still on hold as hopes rise for services deals

Insolvency Service update gives hope to suppliers
3 days ago

Subcontractors left stranded by Carillion “early payment” system

Millions sitting in controversial system may never reach suppliers
3 days ago

Crunch day for over 8,000 Carillion staff

Carillion went bust with just £29m left and would have been out of cash today
3 days ago

Balfour tipped for Carillion’s Leeds ring road job

£115m East Leeds Orbital Route contract consolation for Balfour after £45m hit
3 days ago

Colmore Tang offers early payment to Carillion subbies

Birmingham contractor to speed-up payments to its suppliers hit by Carillion collapse
4 days ago

Lendlease launches £1.5bn build-to-rent partnership

First £450m tranche invested in private rental build at Elephant & Castle
3 days ago

Government fast-tracks probe into Carillion directors

Business secretary extends investigation into actions of directors and auditors
4 days ago

Race starts for £8.7bn Highways England framework

New approach will allow smaller contractors to take part in regional roads delivery
4 days ago

Supply chain owed £2bn by Carillion

Subcontractors hoping for protection from Project Bank Accounts
4 days ago

Carillion fall-out hits Van Elle and Speedy

Specialist subcontractors start to disclose cost of collapse
4 days ago

Winvic lands Sheffield build-to-rent deal

Construction to start this month on nine-storey block
4 days ago

Willmott Dixon wins second Kent Uni project

Firm to start £13m contract for School of Economic building
4 days ago

Carillion collapse to cost Balfour Beatty £45m

Galliford Try also hit for up to £40m on Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route
5 days ago

Carillion staff and suppliers told to carry on working

Liquidator sets up website offering advice to anyone hit by the collapse
5 days ago

Contractor services