Kier fined £1.8m after worker killed on road repair job

Grant Prior 12 months ago
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Kier and a road building subcontractor have been fined after a worker was fatally struck on a highways repair job near Lidgate in Suffolk.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard that Kier Integrated Services Ltd was the principal contractor for the roadworks and Sean Hegarty Ltd was the subcontractor on surface repairs to the B1063 for Suffolk County Council.

On 13 May 2014, workers from Sean Hegarty Ltd were using a road planer to remove the old tar from the south bound side of the road, while the north bound side had traffic lights to control the direction of the traffic.

During this operation, the driver of the company’s flatbed lorry observed Aiden Gallagher lying in the road to the offside rear of his vehicle, which had been reversing slowing behind the road planer’s conveyor belt to collect the debris the planer scraped from the road surface.

The man was taken to hospital, but died of his extensive injuries.

The HSE prosecuted Kier Integrated Services Ltd and Sean Hegarty Ltd after an investigation found the companies failed to ensure that the operation of the road planer was carried out in such a manner to ensure vehicles and pedestrians could move safely around the roadworks.

Kier Integrated Services Ltd of Bedfordshire pleaded guilty to safety breaches abd was fined £1.8m and ordered to pay £12,405 in costs.

Sean Hegarty Ltd of Felixstowe also pleaded guilty and was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £12,405 in costs.

A Kier statement said: “We acknowledge and accept the sentencing decision of the Court and wish to convey our sincerest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Aiden Gallagher.

“Operating a safe and sustainable business is Kier’s number one priority and we regret that on this occasion our high standards were not met.

“We work collaboratively with our supply chain to strive for continual improvement in safety standards and to develop new approaches to safe working.”

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector David King said: “The planning of roadworks needs to start by considering the design, and how road workers and members of the public will be protected from moving vehicles, this could mean road closures, reducing speed limits or other measures.

“Whatever the controls in place, those in the area need to have sufficient space, barriers and controls to ensure the risks to them are minimised.

“In this instance the only control measures in place were cones along the centre of the road, and traffic was allowed to pass at 60mph, close to the workers who were not provided with a safety zone given the lack of space.

“Had adequate controls and a safe system of work been in place this terrible incident could have been prevented.”

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