Companies failed to put in place safe work area where road-worker died
- Credit: Gregg Brown
A Suffolk road-worker died on a country road that should have been closed to traffic while work was taking place, a court has heard.
Father-of three Aidan Gallagher had been working in a gap between two vehicles when one of the drivers checked his mirrors and saw him lying on the ground, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Mr Gallagher, a 37-year-old father-of three, who had lived in Ipswich and Felixstowe, was taken to hospital but died from his injuries.
“There were no witnesses to the incident itself and it’s not precisely clear what caused him to be on the floor, whether it was a fall or being struck by a vehicle going past the roadworks,” said Andrew Marshall, prosecuting.
An investigation carried out after the incident identified failures by Kier Integrated services and Sean Hegarty Ltd in relation to proper planning of the works and a safe system of work.
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“He (Mr Gallagher) was killed while working in unsafe circumstances and whether he was hit or crushed by a vehicle, the risk he was exposed to was by the actions or omissions by both the defendants,”said Mr Marshall.
He said an expert had described the safety management at the site of the roadworks as falling “far below” the standard expected and said the road should have been closed to through traffic to ensure the safety of workers.
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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 have admitted health and safety regulation breaches.
Prashant Popat for Kier Integrated Services expressed regret for Mr Gallagher’s death.
He said the company’s failure was not doing enough to make sure a temporary traffic management system designed by an experienced sub contractor was appropriate.
The case continues.