Communications giant BT has been fined for a road work safety breach which caused a "high risk of very serious harm" in West Cumbria.
Carlisle Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday 13 January that British Telecommunications PLC was challenged about the lack of adequate safety measures after a highways officer from Cumbria County Council visited the site on the A594 near Maryport on 7 July last year.
Underground cable-laying work was taking place ahead of a project to improve broadband connectivity in the area.
There were no signs warning approaching motorists of the work, and no traffic lights in place while parked work vans were blocking the pavement.
Pedestrians would have to step into the road, and there was a high risk of vehicles approaching from opposite directions to collide. The site was on a main road bend.
“It was basically unsafe as far as drivers and pedestrians were concerned,” said Jonathan Farnworth, prosecuting.
“It is deliberate or at the very least reckless. There is a high risk of very serious harm, is my submission.”
On behalf of BT, Richard Bottomley admitted an offence of failing to comply with safety measures. The company, he told the court, had failed to comply with the rules “and is very sorry to be here.”
The work on that day lasted only hours, and had been contracted and then sub-contracted out. Failed compliance was due to a “rogue foreman” for the sub-contractor who had since been dismissed, explained Mr Bottomley.
Workers had since received training and been reminded of the importance of complying with road safety rules.
District Judge John Temperley imposed a £5,000 fine. The company must also pay a £2,000 surcharge and £538.08 costs.
“I think there is certainly negligence on the part of BT,” concluded the district judge.
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