Companies fined more than £1.8 million for death at Lidgate roadworks

Ipswich Crown Court
Ipswich Crown Court

Two civil engineering companies have been fined £1.875 million after admitting breaching health and safety law when a worker suffered fatal injuries on a road at Lidgate.

Sean Hegarty Ltd, of London Road, Ipswich, pleaded guilty to being an employer which failed to discharge its duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of father of three Aiden Gallagher, 37, from Ipswich, who was an employee, between January 1 2014 and May 14 2014,

Kier Integrated Services of Sandy, Bedfordshire, also pleaded guilty to failing to discharge its duty of health and safety to a person other than an employee on or before May 13, 2014.

At the conclusion of a two day hearing on the incident on the B1063 on May 13, 2014, Judge Martyn Levett fined Keir Integrated Services £1.8 million, payable in three £600,000 instalments, and Sean Hegarty Ltd was fined £75,000.

The companies were ordered to pay £12,405 each in prosecution costs.

The court heard how Mr Gallagher, a road worker, had been working between two vehicles when the driver of one looked in his mirror and saw him on the ground. He was taken to hospital but died of his injuries.

The court was told that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive concluded that Keir Integrated Services and Sean Hegarty Ltd who employed Mr Gallagher, had failed to sufficiently plan the works or put an adequate safety system in place.

Prosecutor Andrew Marshall said an expert consulted during the investigation had said the road should have been closed to traffic to ensure the safety of the workforce though that would have resulted in a 30 mile diversion.

The court heard no safety zone separated workers from passing vehicles in a 60mph speed limit.

Mr Marshall said it was unclear why Mr Gallagher ended up on the ground as the incident had not been witnessed by anyone.

Prashant Patel, representing Keir, said the company wished to express its regret for the death of Mr Gallagher.

He said not enough had been done to ensure an adequate traffic management system was in place.

Appearing for Sean Hegarty Ltd, Mark Balsyz said the Hegarty family, who owned the company were ‘devastated’ by the death. He said the company had a good safety record.

Judge Levett said he had come to conclusion that Mr Gallagher was struck by a reversing lorry and said the tragedy had been avoidable.