Contractor failed to maintain safety zone or provide other controls

Rebeck Communications Limited has been fined after failing to create and maintain a safe place of work whilst laying a pipe under a road surface in Northamptonshire on 14th May 2014.

Northampton Magistrates heard that it is usual to have a maintained 0.5m safety zone as a restricted area when undertaking this kind of work. HSE investigators found the road was 4.8m wide and classified as ‘narrow lanes’.

The company decided that a temporary traffic management system would be used. This allowed one lane to be closed while still allowing traffic to pass on the other remaining ‘live’ traffic lane. In theory this system is self-managed by the drivers using the road.

Worker briefly manoeuvred into live lane

During the reinstatement of the road surface at the centre point of the road, a worker was struck by a bus causing serious injuries to the worker including a dislocated knee and severe ligament and muscle damage.

The court was told the 0.5m safety zone was not being maintained and no other control measures were in place. It is possible the worker had to manoeuvre into the live traffic lane briefly to position some equipment as the bus was passing.

Rebeck Communications Limited, of Eagle House, Billing Road, Northampton, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 26(2) of the Construction, Design and Management Regulations 2007 and was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £1293.

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