Telecoms co endangered engineer’s life at Edinburgh roadworks
Monday 10th April 2017
From the archive: Just so you know, this article is more than 3 years old.
On 27 February a fibre optic engineer was filmed working in a manhole on a busy 48 km/h road in Craiglockhart, Edinburgh. The dash-cam video shows cars swerving around the man, who was employed by contractor KNNS and whose only safeguard was two traffic cones.
The Scottish road works commissioner Angus Carmichael fined CityFibre on 4 April after he concluded that the incident "could have resulted in a fatality" and demonstrated the company's "lack of compliance with roadworks legislation".
He added: "[CityFibre] has subsequently carried out an investigation into the incident, the findings of which confirm my conclusion that they have systematically failed to meet their statutory duty to co-operate under s 119 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991. In view of their clear performance failures, I am left with no option other than to apply a financial penalty."
Carmichael said he imposed the fine after the company did not "significantly improve" its performance over the last 12 months.
He listed several other offences committed by CityFibre, primarily in the Edinburgh area, which included endangering road workers and the general public, non-compliance with the reinstatement specification, working without valid notification on the Scottish Road Works Register, a lack of qualifications and not co-operating with the City of Edinburgh Council.
"As the failures are of a very serious nature, compromising both safety and quality, I have decided to impose a significant penalty of £35,000 to send a clear message to all organisations undertaking road works that poor performance is unacceptable," Carmichael said.
CityFibre's chief executive Greg Mesch said: "We have been working closely with the Scottish roadworks commissioner, City of Edinburgh Council and our contractors to deliver significant improvement while construction progresses on Edinburgh's world-class Gigabit City network.
"We have also committed to investing a further £35,000 in additional health and safety training for all our project staff and contractors across our 40-plus city footprint. We aim to always deliver the swift, safe and thorough construction work our customers expect."
The commissioner said CityFibre's improvement plan "confirmed that they are committed to improving their performance and complying with the legislation in future".
The Scottish road works commissioner works to improve the planning, co-ordination and quality of road works throughout Scotland. They have statutory powers to issue fines of up to £50,000 if a utility company or roads authority fails to comply with the law.
Robert Geach, 54, was working on the sand filtration unit at the Falmouth Waste Water Treatment Works on 30 December 2013, Truro Crown Court was told, when he slipped and fell into the tank.South West Water dispatched a colleague to the site four and a half hours later, in response to its lone worker alert system. He found Geach floating face-down in the water.
Maurice Mason, which runs Hall Farm, Fincham, near King’s Lynn, Norfolk, failed to adequately identify and manage the risks associated with cleaning grain stores. The company failed to put a safe system of work in place for the task and it did not provide suitable training.The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that 21-year-old Arthur Mason was taking turns with a colleague to clean inside the grains bins on the farm when the incident happened on 9 July 2014.
If Electricity North West had planned the operation properly and supervised the safe clearance of the ivy, 63-year-old John Flowers would not have needed to use a ladder to climb the wooden pole to cut away the vegetation. It is believed that, trying to chop through the heavy plant growth, Flowers accidentally severed a lanyard securing his harness to the pole and fell around 6 m.
Ghanaian national Prince Kwabena Fosu was found dead on the concrete floor of his cell in Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre on 30 October 2012 – six days after he arrived. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced it has authorised criminal charges against GEO Group UK, which managed Harmondsworth at the time of the incident, and Nestor Primecare Services, which was responsible for its health services under contract to GEO. Both companies are alleged to have breached s 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Driver John Murray, who was employed by a logistics company, was collecting packages at an Aer Lingus cargo warehouse at the airport on 5 November 2014. He fell from a loading bay and died of head trauma some days later. The airline failed to apply its own procedure, the Central Criminal Court was told, which required drivers to enter and leave the warehouse via stairs and a doorway adjacent to the loading bay.