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Balfour Beatty fined £2.6M following trench collapse death

Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions was yesterday found guilty of health and safety breaches that led to the death of an employee when a trench collapsed during work for an offshore wind farm project in Lancashire in 2010.

Preston Crown Court handed down a fine of £2.6M to the contractor, plus £54,000 in costs, following an investigation into the incident by the Health and Safety Executive.

Preston court

Preston court

Preston Crown Court handed down a fine of £2.6M to the contractor, plus £54,000 in costs, following an investigation into the incident by the Health and Safety Executive.

The victim, 32 year old James Sim, was working on behalf of Balfour Beatty when he became trapped in a 2.4m deep unshored trench. The court heard that Balfour Beatty failed to adequately risk assess the works or control the way in which the excavation took place.

Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions was found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Regulation 31(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

HSE inspector Chris Hatton said: “The level of this fine should serve as a warning to industry not to ignore health and safety matters.

“Balfour Beatty failed to adequately assess, plan and supervise the work being undertaken. Trench collapses are easy to prevent, and it is disappointing that Sim’s life was lost in such a tragic way.”

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