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Sun June 20 2021

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Spie blamed for child’s death

25 Feb 20 Engineering contractor Spie Limited has been fined after a child was fatally injured when he was trapped between an unsecured utility pole and a fence.

Dumfries Sheriff Court heard that, on 15th October 2017, a Spie employee delivered an overhead power pole to a roadside verge next to Mill Hill Medical Centre in Kelloholm. The pole was left unsecured at the top of an embankment.

Sometime later, when two boys were playing in the vicinity, the heavy pole rolled down the bank and trapped a 12-year-old between it and a fence, causing fatal injuries.

During an investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), two distinct failings that led to the tragic incident were highlighted.

Firstly, there was a failure to provide a safe system of work for the delivery and storage of poles to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that the poles were delivered to the correct location and that they were properly secured to prevent rolling.

Secondly, there was a failure to provide suitable training, information and instruction to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that employees engaged in the task of delivering poles properly secured them so that they could not roll.

Spie Limited of Gracechurch Street, London pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at work etc Act 1974. It was fined £160,000.

HSE inspector Martin McMahon said after the hearing: “This terrible and tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a child. This death could easily have been prevented if the risks involved had been properly managed, through the provision of safe systems of work and suitable training of employees. Sadly however, that was not the case.”

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