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Balfour Beatty fined £1m for loader crane fatality

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Balfour Beatty has been fined £1m after a worker was killed by a crane while repairing a central reservation barrier.

A team from Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering set out on 1st October 2012 to install temporary traffic management on a stretch of the A2 near Barham in Kent to repair barriers after a road accident had left them damaged.

A truck-mounted loader crane was used in an improvised attempt to remove the footings of a post that had snapped off. There was no method statement. The crane slipped from the concrete footing, and swung back towards the barrier, hitting 37-year-old Larry Newman on the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering Limited, of Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, was fined a total of £1m at Canterbury Crown Court, and ordered to pay £14,977 in costs after pleading guilty to offences under Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Cousins said: “This was an entirely preventable incident that could have been averted by simply creating and implementing a safe system of work. If a suitably sized excavator had been used to remove the footing mechanically it would have prevented this tragic loss of life completely.

“Employers have a responsibility to create safe systems of work for hazardous activities that their workers may be undertaking. The workers should be trained in safe systems of working and adequately supervised. Safety needs to be proactively managed and not just left to chance.”

Balfour Beatty has since been working with the Association of Lorry Loader Manufacturers & Importers (ALLMI) on loader crane safety issues. ALLMI represents the entire loader crane sector, including users, and works to promote their safe use.

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