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Civil engineering firm fined £4.4m following M6 works

Civil engineering firm Kier has been fined more than £4m after its workers twice struck overhead powerlines while working on the M6 motorway causing cables to land in the path of passing vehicles.

In one incident, an overhead cable the workers brought down hit a lorry. In an earlier incident, a cable landed on the motorway.

During the first incident, a team of three workers were working a nightshift. The workers were clearing tarmac from the hard shoulder and loading a truck with a digger. As the driver moved the truck along with an attached loading bucket raised it struck and severed a 11kV overhead powerline that landed in the motorway and in a nearby field. The company failed to immediately tell Scottish Power, which meant the cable was reenergised a number of times while it was lying on the motorway and vehicles were passing.

During the second incident, another team of three workers from a sub- contractor were removing a temporary motorway barrier. The crane arm attached to their lorry loader struck an overhead cable which led to an unmarked 11kV powerline being hit and snapped by an oncoming lorry. Workers said that they were unaware of the overhead hazards.

In total, the company were fined £4.415m and ordered to pay costs of £87,759.60 at Manchester Crown Court on 12 January 2023.
HSE inspector Mike Lisle said: “This is a significant fine reflecting the seriousness of the failures here. The company’s failure to plan the work properly and provide an adequate risk assessment put its workers and those using the motorway in significant danger.”