Child fatally injured after pole pins him against fence

SPIE Limited has been fined after a child was fatally injured when he was trapped between an unsecured pole and a fence. HSE logo

Dumfries Sheriff Court heard that, on 15 October 2017, an employee of SPIE Limited delivered an overhead power pole to a roadside verge adjacent to Mill Hill Medical Centre at Niviston Road and Corserig Crescent, Kelloholm. The pole was left unsecured at the top of an embankment and subsequently rolled down, trapping the 12-year-old between it and a fence and causing fatal injuries.

The HSE found that two distinct failings led to the tragic incident:

  1. There was a failure to provide a safe system of work for the delivery and storage of poles to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that the poles were delivered to the correct location and that they were properly secured to prevent rolling;
  2. There was a failure to provide suitable training, information and instruction to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that employees engaged in the task of delivering poles properly secured them so that they could not roll.

SPIE Limited of Gracechurch Street, London pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £160,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Martin McMahon said:

“This terrible and tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a child. This death could easily have been prevented if the risks involved had been properly managed, through the provision of safe systems of work and suitable training of employees. Sadly however, that was not the case.”