Firms fined £500k over William Collins' death in A50 crash
TWO companies have been fined £500,000 after a father-of-two died in a crash on the A50 because they failed to inform drivers the dual carriageway was shut for roadworks.
William Collins, of Weston Coyney, died on the A50 near Uttoxeter, after his car failed to negotiate a bend and hit a stationary lorry. The vehicle was connected to traffic management put in place as roadworks were carried out in the area.
Now the two firms responsible have been ordered to pay out a total of £700,000 in fines and costs.
Mr Collins, aged 49, died at the scene from multiple injuries, sparking a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation.
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It found traffic management measures were inadequate, as it was not clear to drivers approaching the road ahead was closed, or motorists had to leave the A50 at the junction with the A522.
Enterprise (AOL) Ltd, which was responsible for traffic management, was found guilty by a jury of failing to carry out a suitable risk assessment.
Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Services, which was in charge of the roadworks, was convicted of failing to realise the system was inadequate, and failing to properly monitor the work of its sub-contractors.
During a hearing at Liverpool Crown Court, both firms were fined £250,000 each and ordered to pay costs of £100,000 each.
Both companies have lodged an appeal against conviction.
The fines have been welcomed by community leaders in Weston Coyney, who said justice had finally been served, more than five years after the fatality.
Pauline Rushton, chairman of the Weston Coyney Residents' Association, said: "It's terrible when anybody is killed on the roads, but when the circumstances are avoidable, as in this case, then it's tragic."
Uttoxeter Town Mayor Martin Blencowe, said: "This conviction sends out a message that health and safety is very important."
HSE inspector Katharine Walker said: "Enterprise relied on a generic risk assessment for a lane closure rather than properly assessing the road and implementing a suitable system of traffic management. As the organisation responsible for what happened on the road, Balfour Beatty should have checked the assessment and identified this failing. Instead a man was killed – a tragic death which could have been avoided."
At the time of the accident, at around 4am in November 25, 2007, the A50 had been closed at the junction with the A522 while works were carried out to overhead power lines and the central reservation barrier.
The A50 had been reduced to one lane and vehicles were then diverted onto the A522, which involved a sharp left hand bend. But the speed limit had not been reduced so vehicles were still able to travel at up to 70mph.
Mr Collins family did not want to talk about the outcome of the case.