Balfour Beatty fined £600k over death of man during Third Don Crossing work

Police at the scene of the accident
Police at the scene of the accident

A building firm has been fined £600,000 over safety failings after a dad died during the construction of the Third Don Crossing.

Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering Limited, part of the Balfour Beatty group, was handed the financial penalty yesterday at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

It comes after Ian Walker, 58, from Dundee, was struck by an excavator and died in an accident on the project site at Danestone, north of the river, on January 13 2016.

Depute fiscal Shona Nicholson said Mr Walker sustained fatal neck and chest injuries after “being caught between the fuel bowser and the excavator”.

A number of workers then made attempts to administer CPR before paramedics arrived and pronounced him dead at 5pm.

Ms Nicholson said: “The HSE investigation established that Balfour Beatty had identified refuelling of plant equipment was a high risk activity and had created a task briefing document which detailed a safe system of work and associated risk assessment for said activity.”

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The assessment stated control measures including signs and barriers, and having a plant and vehicle marshal control movement should be in place to “prevent collision and crushing”.

Ms Nicholson added it was evident the control measures “had not been fully implemented on the site”.

The HSE investigation also concluded the level of lighting and other environmental factors would have made it “difficult, if not impossible” for the excavator driver to have seen Mr Walker.

The firm pled guilty to failing to ensure a safe system of work was implemented, exposing workers to risk.

Defence counsel Barry Smith offered the “sincere condolences” on behalf of the company to Mr Walker’s family, adding he was a “valued” and “well-liked” employee.

He said the failure was an “isolated” incident, adding: “The system was a good one, and had it been implemented, it may have been this accident would have been prevented.”

Sheriff Morag McLaughlin described the incident as “tragic” and ordered the firm to pay a fine of £600,000.