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HSE prosecutes council over death of father fatally injured by barrier gate (14 September 2015)

Date: 14/09/2015
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, HSE prosecutes council over death of father fatally injured by barrier gate

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted North Lincolnshire Council, after a man was killed when his car drove towards a horizontal swing barrier gate leading to a car park at a sports ground.

The incident occurred in August 2012, when 51-year-old Andrew Matthews – a father-of-two – drove to Foxhills sports ground in Scunthorpe to watch his son play football.

The horizontal barrier had been opened earlier – but it had not been secured and swung into a dangerous position as Mr Matthews drove his car towards the gate.

The court heard the horizontal end of the barrier crashed through the windscreen of Mr Matthew’s car, striking him on the head and causing fatal head injuries.

On Friday, 11 September, 2015, North Lincolnshire Council – of Ashby Road, Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire – was fined a total of £160,000 and ordered to pay £40,476 in costs, after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE Principal Inspector Chris Gallagher said:

“The tragic loss of Mr Matthew’s life was a horrific incident that could so easily have been avoided.

“The barrier should have been secured while it was open, so that it could not swing into his path in such a way that he was unable to see it as he drove towards it.

“A significant number of people have been killed or injured in incidents involving horizontal swing barriers in car parks used in retail, leisure and industrial premises.

“Duty holders should carry out a suitable risk assessment, so that potential dangers are identified and suitable precautions are put in place.

“These include making sure such barriers can be locked open and shut to suitable fixing posts preferably with a padlock, so they cannot swing open and present an impalement risk ”

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