28 February 2013
Fatal road traffic accident could lead to damages claim
A tragic road traffic accident that cost a man his life could lead to a compensation claim from his family.
William Collins passed away at the age of 49 in November 2007 when he collided with a stationary truck on the A50 road near Uttoxeter.
At the time of this incident, Mr Collins was travelling along the westbound carriageway at around 4am when he failed to go round a bend in the highway at the point of some roadworks and subsequently crashed into the vehicle, which was owned by Enterprise (AOL).
The severity of his injuries caused the Stoke-on-Trent resident to die at the scene and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) subsequently carried out an investigation into the accident.
It was established that the A50 had been closed at its junction with the A522 so work controlled by Balfour Beatty could be conducted on the central reservation barrier and overhead power lines, with Enterprise (AOL) being in charge of the traffic management aspect of the task.
However, the HSE found that Enterprise (AOL) had implemented insufficient safety controls, as it was not made clear to motorists that the road ahead was closed, meaning they had to exit the highway.
In addition, the company did not conduct a suitable risk assessment prior to undertaking this task, while Balfour Beatty was found to have been negligent because it did not realise that the system of work proposed by Enterprise (AOL) was potentially hazardous.
During a subsequent case heard at Liverpool Crown Court, Enterprise (AOL) was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and was therefore fined £225,000.
Meanwhile, Balfour Beatty was penalised the same sum for its breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Katharine Walker, inspector at the HSE, observed: "Enterprise (AOL) 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 … Balfour Beatty should have checked the assessment and identified this failing."
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Posted by Trusha Vyas