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Trench death brings Balfour Beatty second seven-figure fine this year

Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions, a division of major construction contractor Balfour Beatty Group, has been fined £2.6m after a trench collapsed on a worker and fatally crushed him.

Image credit: ©imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock
Image credit: ©imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

On 14 April 2010 a subcontractor, James Sim, was working in the 2.4 m-deep unshored trench, laying cable ducting for an offshore windfarm that was being built off the Lancashire coast. Sim was trapped in the trench when it collapsed on him. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Balfour Beatty failed to adequately assess the works or control the excavation. 

At Preston Crown Court the company was found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act, Regulation 31(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, and Regulations 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations. The latter two cover the duty of an employer to ensure an excavation does not collapse, and to carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments. 

Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions was fined £2.6m plus £54,000 in costs. 

This is the company’s second seven-figure fine this year. In January Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering was fined £1m after a road worker died when he was hit in the head by a mobile crane.

 

Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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