Sunday, 22 May 2016

Balfour Beatty fined £2.6M following death when trench collapsed.

Balfour Beatty was fined £2.6 million plus £54,000 costs after an employee was killed when the trench he was working in collapsed on him in Lancashire.
The circumstances were:

  • The accident occurred on an onshore site connected to an offshore windfarm that was being built off the coast by Heysham, Lancashire.  
  • There was a trench dug to a depth of 2.4 metres, without any shoring.
  • Balfour Beatty failed to adequately risk assess the works or control the way in which the excavation took place.
  • James Sim was a 32-year-old sub-contractor working on behalf of Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions Limited.
  • Mr Sim was killed when he became trapped in the trench after it collapsed on him.
The HSE inspector said : 
“The level of this fine should serve as a warning to industry not to ignore health and safety matters. Balfour Beatty failed to adequately assess, plan and supervise the work being undertaken. Trench collapses are easy to prevent, and it is disappointing that James’ life was lost in such a tragic way. The family has shown great patience and support throughout this investigation which is a credit to both them and James’ memory.”
SSS note:  This is very similar to the first case brought under the Corporate Manslaughter Act against Cotswold Geotech where a trench collapsed.

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