Southern Gas Networks fined after road accident

A gas transportation firm has been fined more than £20,000 for breaching building regulations, after a road accident in the Isle of Wight which left a driver injured.

The incident in question occurred in April 2008, when a driver hit part of a 2.5m metal road plate which was protruding from a line of parked cars. The car flipped over onto its side, and its badly bruised driver had to be cut from the vehicle by the emergency services.

Southern Gas Networks has now been found to be at least partly liable for the incident, after its employees lifted the metal plate off the ground using an excavator. Although their aim was to make it easier to collect later, the raised, protruding plate is believed to be what caused the accident.

The Health and Safety Executive, who prosecuted in this case, has said that because the firm failed to plan the work properly and was liable for the damage to the vehicle and the driver’s injury. In an earlier hearing, the company was found to be in breach of one of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

Southern Gas Networks has been fined £20,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £13,523. If the firm has taken the precautionary step of getting professional insurance (commercial legal expenses or public liability insurance, or both) these costs are likely to be covered by the policy.

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