Kent councils fined £90,000 by court and HSE after fatal crash

Lack of suitable risk assessment claimed the life of 58-year-old motorcyclist who hit a road sweeper

SEVENOAKS Council has been fined £40,000 by Maidstone Crown Court following a collision with a road sweeper that claimed the life of motorcyclist Derek McCulloch in Swanley, Kent, in December 2010.

The Health and Safety Executive also fined Kent district council £50,000 and ordered it to pay £30,000 costs after it pleaded guilty to violating sections 2.1 and 3.1 of the Health and Safety at Work act.

Mr McCulloch, 58, collided with an Iveco Scarab road cleaning truck while it was cleaning the outside lane of a two-lane slip road. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

During an enquiry into the crash, Maidstone Crown Court discovered that the cleaning vehicle had been travelling at just 4mph on a bend in the road that prevented Mr McCulloch from seeing it until it was too late.

The road sweeper had flashing beacons and a sign indicating which side to pass on, but the court judged that more safety procedures should have been in place for higher-speed sections of road.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive concluded that Sevenoaks District Council had failed to implement a road-specific risk assessment. Instead it had in place a generic one applicable to all kinds of roads and traffic scenarios. The one risk assessment Sevenoaks had was deemed ill-equipped to identify the necessary safety measures required to sweep the two-lane slip road while keeping it safe for other road users.

Image: Wikipedia under licence from Creative Commons

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