MEL Health and Safety Consultants

Incident at Roadworks leaves Motorcyclist in Intensive Care

Absence of Safe System of Work identified as the reason for Head-on Collision

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned employers to maintain safe systems of working at road works, after a road traffic collision left a motorcyclist in intensive care.


Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Services Ltd of Ashwood Park, Basingstoke, was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £31,139.30, at Chelmsford Crown Court today (Friday 18 September) after pleading guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. 


On 7 June 2006, three of the company’s employees were carrying out repairs to the A1060 at Boyton Cross, near Chelmsford.  They had reduced the road width to a single lane and had put in place a simple control system with one person using a Stop/Go board.  There were also signs set out in advance of the roadworks to warn other road users. However, a motorcyclist travelling in the open side of the carriageway collided head-on with a car, travelling towards him in the opposite direction, and suffered serious injuries.


The HSE investigation identified the road layout the company used was not appropriate for the traffic flows.  In particular, a road sign to alert users to the fact that there was traffic control ahead was not put out. Nor was there a  supervisor in charge of the works gang. 


HSE Inspector Sandy Carmichael said:


"This serious incident could and should have been prevented by the company by ensuring safe systems of working were in place. Where information to road users at roadworks is not prominent, accurate and clear, both workers and road users are at great risk.   HSE will not hesitate to take action against any business with this level of responsibility that fails to comply with the law.”