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Firm fined after trench collapse death

NCE stock health and safety

Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions has been fined £2.6M after a man died in a trench collapse on an energy project.

The company was also ordered to pay £54,000 costs after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety regulations.

On 14 April 2010, James Sim, a 32-year-old from Barry in South Wales, was working in a trench as a subcontractor of Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions.

Sim was laying ducting for cable for an offshore windfarm being built off the coast of Lancashire.

The trench was excavated to a depth of 2.4m, without any shoring. Sim was killed when he became trapped in the trench after it collapsed on him.

HSE inspector Chris Hatton said after the hearing: “Balfour Beatty failed to adequately assess, plan and supervise the work being undertaken. Trench collapses are easy to prevent, and it is disappointing that James’ life was lost in such a tragic way.

“The family has shown great patience and support throughout this investigation which is a credit to both them and James’ memory.”

Balfour Beatty said in a statement that it had offered its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of James Sim.

“The safety of the public and our workforce is always our primary concern,” the firm added. “We have since taken appropriate corrective action to take the lessons learnt from this tragic incident and share them across our business.”


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