Trench death brings Balfour Beatty second seven-figure fine this year
Friday 6th May 2016
From the archive: Just so you know, this article is more than 3 years old.
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.
Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions (BBUS) was prosecuted after a worker was killed when a 2.4 m-deep unshored trench collapsed on him while he was laying cable ducting in Heysham, Lancaster for energy firm Dong Energy’s Walney offshore windfarm, located in the East Irish Sea.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that on a visit an HSE inspector found an employee at the bottom of the 3.5 m-deep unshored excavation and instructed him to exit immediately. There was also no edge protection around the top of the excavation to prevent people or objects falling into it. HSE inspectors had previously taken action on similar risks at other sites and still failed to ensure suitable and sufficient safe access to the site.
Part of the boiler house at the power station collapsed on 23 February during demolition work by Coleman and Company, killing one person, leaving three missing in the wreckage and injuring five others.In a statement, Coleman and Company said the move was “hugely disappointing”. “We have now reached a stage where we will be handing over the remaining recovery operation to another contractor within the next few weeks. This is of course hugely disappointing as we all wanted to recover our friends and colleagues and return them to their families,” it said.
As we reported last month, Altin Homes was leading the construction works at a former petrol station in Altrincham. On 16 June 2014 a stack of building blocks collapsed and fell through timber hoarding onto Woodlands Road.A member of the public reported the incident to the police at 9.20pm. The police contacted the local authority which notified the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after deploying an emergency clean-up team.
Altin Homes was leading the construction works at the former petrol station. It acted as client and main contractor and had hired several tradespeople and labourers. In June 2014 a stack of building blocks collapsed and fell through the site hoarding onto a pavement and cycle lane. “It was nothing other than good fortune that no pedestrians were passing along the pavement when the blocks fell,” said Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Matt Greenly.
A company owned by William Ryan Evans was contracted to build a drainage field with infiltration pipes laid at the bottom of deep trenches, Swansea Magistrates’ Court was told. The pipes, which were 10 cm in diameter and made of lightweight, perforated plastic, aid the distribution of treated effluent through the field.