Contractors fined £1.8 million for health and safety failings in Lidgate

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

A civil engineering company has been fined £1.8 million after admitting breaching health and safety law after a road worker suffered fatal injuries on a road at Lidgate.

On Tuesday a second company, which had employed father of three Aiden Gallagher, 37, from Ipswich, was fined £75,000. At Ipswich Crown Court, principal contractor, Keir Integrated Services Ltd and sub contractor Sean Hegarty Ltd, which employed Mr Gallagher, were sentenced for the incident on the B1063 on May 13, 2014.

Sean Hegarty Ltd, of London Road, Ipswich, pleaded guilty to failing to discharge its duty as an employer to ensure the health, safety and welfare of Mr Gallagher, an employee, between January 1 2014 and May 14 2014, Kier Integrated Services Ltd of Sandy, Bedfordshire, had 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 the two day hearing, Judge Martyn Levett imposed a £75,000 fine on Sean Hegarty Ltd and ordered the company to pay £12,405 in prosecution costs. Keir Integrated Services Ltd was fined £1.8 million, payable in three £600,000 installments, and told it must pay £12,405 costs.

Representing Keir Integrated Services Ltd, Prashant Patel said the company expressed its regret for the death of Mr Gallagher and that not enough had been done to ensure an adequate traffic management system was in place.

The court had heard how Mr Gallagher had been working between two vehicles when one of the drivers saw him lying on the ground. He was taken to hospital but died from his extensive injuries.

The court was told that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive concluded that Keir Integrated Services Ltd 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, said the road should have been closed to traffic to ensure the safety of the workforce although that would have resulted in a 30-mile diversion for motorists.

No safety zone separating workers from passing vehicles in what was a 60mph speed limit had been put in place, resulting in vehicles passing close by at speed. How Mr Gallagher had ended up on the ground remained a mystery as the incident had not been witnessed by anyone.

Appearing for Sean Hegarty Ltd, Mark Balsyz said members of the Hegarty family, who owned the company, which had a good safety record, were “devastated” by the death of Mr Gallagher.

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