CaRT's main contractor fined £4.4m for safety breaches

Published: Thursday, 19 January 2023

THE Canal & River Trust's main contractor, Keir, has been hit with a £4.4 millions fine for repeated safety breaches.

In one breach a digger driver's bucket hit a power line, fetching it down on a motorway with workers scuttling for safety.

Happened twice

But not the single incident, it happening twice, with the second time the power line brought down on the M6 motorway, causing its closure.

The incidents happened on part of the M6 smart motorway scheme between junctions 16 and 18 near Sandbach in Cheshire during overnight road works.

In the first incident three Keir workers were clearing tarmac from the hard shoulder and loading a truck with a digger.

But as the truck was moved with an attached loading bucket raised, it struck and severed a 11kV overhead power line that landed on the motorway.

Did not tell Scottish Power

The company did not tell the Scottish Power, with the cable having its power turned on time and time again with vehicles passing on the motorway.

In the second incident the Kier workers were removing a motorway barrier when a crane on a loader struck an overhead cable of 11kV it then dropping then being hit and snapped by an oncoming lorry.

HSE found that there was inadequate planning from Kier meaning the vehicle in the first incident was not suitable for purpose though there were those available that were.

Unaware of hazards

In the second incident, the workers were unaware of the overhead hazards.

In both incidents, Kier Infrastructure & Overseas Limited pleaded guilty to breaching various sections of the Health and Safety at Work Acts.

In total, the company was fined £4.415m and ordered to pay costs of £80,759.60 at Manchester Crown Court on the 12th January 2023.