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Contractors sentenced after road worker killed

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A principal contractor and a road building sub-contractor have been fined after a worker was fatally struck while working on roadworks near Lidgate in Suffolk.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard that Kier Integrated Services was the principal contractor for the roadworks and Sean Hegarty was the sub-contractor on the B1063 north of Lidgate, Suffolk during work to repair the surface of the road, under a contract between Kier Integrated Services and Suffolk County Council.

On May 13, 2014, workers from Sean Hegarty 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 a roadworks colleague 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’s surface.

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

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Kier Integrated Services and Sean Hegarty 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 without exposing persons to risks to their health and safety.

Kier Integrated Services of Tempsford Hall, Sandy, Bedfordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £1.8 million and ordered to pay £12,405 in costs (plus a victim surcharge of £120).

Sean Hegarty of High Road West, Felixstowe, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 Suffolk. The company was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £12,405 in costs (plus a victim surcharge of £120).

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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