Call me back

Accident at work causes M25 death

Aerial view of M25
14th May 2014

A work compensation claim could be pursued on behalf of a construction worker killed in tragic events while undertaking fencing work on one of Britain's busiest motorway.

As a result of the accident at work, construction firm Carillion Highway Maintenance Limited and its traffic management subcontractor have been fined a total of £202,000.

The worker, who was employed by another subcontractor was killed while working on the M25 motorway.

Disaster struck the worker when he was carrying out fencing work close to the Holmesdale Tunnel section of the M25 near Enfield.

It was while performing this work that he was crushed between a van and a safety barrier after a lorry jack-knifed on the motorway.

During the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution Southwark Crown Court heard that Carillion was carrying out repairs to overhead lighting in the tunnel in the month of August in 2004.

The court heard after the repair work had been completed, the victim and his colleague at CD Fencing, Simon Reid, were in a closed lane waiting to reinstate the safety fencing so the traffic management equipment could be removed.

Upon preparing the materials and equipment for this task, a lorry jack-knifed in the contraflow system.

The lorry hit cones a stationary CD Fencing van, sending the van careering towards the hard shoulder.

The subject of the work compensation claim was later found pinned between the van and a safety barrier at the rear of the hard shoulder.

It's said he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Carillion Highway Maintenance Limited pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £200,000 – along with £50,000 costs.

Traffic Management (North East) Limited was found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and fined £2,000 with costs of £120,000, it is in administration.

The prosecution concluded it was not in the public interest to proceed to re-trial.

But as the accident at work was not the fault of the victim, a bid for work compensation claim could well be successful.

After the hearing, HSE Principal Inspector Andy Beal says:

"Carillion and TMNE failed to do enough to protect Mr. Lewis and others working in the road that night.

"Speed limits were too high and there was inadequate management of subcontractors."

Reported by Fiona Campbell