Company left cable connected between two trees causing accident… A company base in Southport faces a bill of more than £100,000 in fines and prosecutions costs after the tragic death of a teenager who rode his motorbike into a metal cable fixed between two trees.
The 17-year-old accident victim from Chorley fell from the motorbike on 20 July 2008 and suffered fatal head injuries in the fall at the Hesketh Estate in Crossens.
The subsequent Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident discovered that the company had attached the wire between two trees in a dark and wooded area that was on a track on the estate.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that the teenager had been using his off-road bike on the track with friends, and was travelling at a modest speed of about 20 miles per hour when he rode into the thick cable which had been placed about a metre above ground level. The wire had been erected some weeks previously by an employee of the company in order to prevent unauthorised access to the area. However a sign stating that the area was inaccessible had been replaced with a t-shirt prior to the fatal accident.
The company, which is involved in tree farming in the area, admitted to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £50,209 in prosecution costs.
HSE Inspector Lisa Bailey spoke after the hearing:
“The teenager’s tragic death at such a young age could have been avoided if the company had thought more about the potential consequences of erecting the cable.
“It was strung between two trees in a dark, wooded area part of the way down the track, which made it difficult to see for anyone travelling towards it. Sadly, the victim was thrown from his bike when he collided with the cable and suffered fatal head injuries as a result.
“If the company wanted to stop people from using the track then it should have installed a proper barrier or warning sign at the entrance. That way, it could have kept vehicles away without putting lives in danger.”
Author: Julian Roberts
Health and Safety News” updates newsletter, click here. The new ‘Health and Safety News’ section on our web site is updated daily with new, up to the minute stories. The stories are also released via Twitter – why not follow us on Twitter? and receive new stories as and when they happen?