Companies fined for failures which led to death of road worker
PUBLISHED: 16:27 19 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:27 19 December 2017
Two companies which admitted health and safety breaches following the death of a Suffolk road worker have been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling nearly £2million.
Sentencing Kier Integrated Services and Ipswich-based Sean Hegarty Ltd Judge Martyn Levett said the death of 37-year-old Aidan Gallagher in 2014 was “avoidable”.
During a two day sentencing hearing Ipswich Crown Court heard that Mr Gallagher had been working in a gap between a tipper truck and a road planing vehicle when one of the drivers checked his mirrors and saw him lying on the ground.
Mr Gallagher, who had lived in Ipswich and Felixstowe, was taken to hospital but died from his injuries.
Although there were no witnesses to the incident, Judge Levett said he had come to the “overwhelming” conclusion thar Mr Gallagher was run over by the reversing tipper truck.
During the hearing, prosecution counsel Andrew Marshall said an investigation had identified failures by Kier Integrated Services and Sean Hegarty Ltd in relation to proper planning of the works and a safe system of work.
He said the accident, which happened on the B1063 at Lidgate, near Newmarket, on May 13, 2014, could have been avoided if the road had been closed during the roadworks but this would have meant a 30-mile diversion for road users.
He said there was no safety zone between passing traffic and the road workers and the 60mph speed limit hadn’t been reduced.
“Workers had to work in the closed part of the road right next to and without protection from cars and lorries going past at speed,” he said.
Sean Hegarty Ltd, of London Road, Ipswich, and Kier Integrated Services Ltd, of Bedfordshire, admitted health and safety regulation breaches.
Kier Integrated Services Ltd was fined £1.8m and Sean Hegarty Ltd £75,000. They were each ordered to pay £12,400 costs.
Mark Balsyz, for Sean Hegarty Ltd, said the company had a good health and safety record and the Hegarty family was devastated by Mr Gallagher’s death. “He was more than just an employee to them. They worked and socialised and travelled on holiday together,” he said.
In a statement following Mr Gallagher’s death his “devastated” family said he was a native of County Sligo and had lived in Suffolk for more than 12 years.
They said he was a great family man and his main focus was spending time with his three children.