Wolverhampton-based Carillion has been forced to pay up more than £200,000 over serious road safety failings which saw a motorcyclist left paralysed after colliding with traffic signs.
The firm was fined £180,000 and ordered to pay £28,551 in costs after 47-year-old Glynn Turner, from Ipswich, suffered devastating injuries.
Mr Turner was riding his motorcycle on the A12 on June 7 2010 when he collided with the traffic signs at a road closure at the junction with the B1121, near Benhall, Saxmundham, in Suffolk.
Mr Turner, a father of three, sustained multiple injuries.
He is now unable to move any part of his body, is unable to communicate, and needs 24-hour residential care. His family have been told there is no prospect of a recovery.
Carillion AM Government was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for safety breaches following an investigation into the incident.
The HSE found the first indication of roadworks was less than 200 metres before the road closure on this 50 mph stretch of the A12.
Ipswich Crown Court heard the company was responsible for placing a series of road signs warning of the closure and directing traffic along a diversion route.
The ‘roadworks ahead’ signs should have been at intervals of around 800, 400 and 200 metres in advance of the closure, and information signs alerting road users should have also been placed at up to one kilometre in advance.
The HSE found that the first indication of the road closure was just 175 metres before it happened. But, as the speed limit on that stretch of road was 50mph, this left little time for traffic to slow down and avoid a collision.
Carillion AM Government, of Birch Street, Wolverhampton, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sandy Carmichael said: “This was a tragic incident that was utterly life-changing, not just for Mr Turner but also for his wife and family. He was an experienced driver who travelled that route regularly.
“Had Carillion complied with the industry’s code of practice and correctly placed temporary warning signs to alert motorists in good time to the roadworks, this dreadful incident could have been avoided.
“Sadly, as a result of the company’s failure to take simple safety measures, road users were put at serious risk and Mr Turner was so badly injured that he has been left completely paralysed.
“Anyone doing work on our roads must take great care to warn road users in good time what to expect on the road ahead.”