A Crown Censure has been issued to the Highways Agency following the death of a traffic officer.
Grandfather John Walmsley, 59, had responded to a road traffic accident between junctions 4 and 5 clockwise on the M25.
The incident involved a vehicle which ended up pointing the wrong way in a live lane. There was heavy rain on the day.
Unexpectedly struck by a car
The two officers and the car’s driver were awaiting a recovery vehicle after the car had been successfully towed to the hard shoulder.
Mr Walmsley was walking down the hard shoulder and was on the lookout for the recovery vehicle while on the phone when he was unexpectedly struck by a car that lost control in the wet conditions.
Death by careless driving
Mr Walmsley tragically died at the scene and the driver of the car that hit him was later found guilty of causing death by careless driving.
The Highways Agency cannot face prosecution in the same way as non-government bodies, so a decision was taken to issue a Censure – the equivalent of a criminal prosecution – after it emerged that the organisation’s supervision checks of officers were incomplete.
The car accident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It uncovered that even though formal quarterly supervision checks of traffic officers by a team manager had been introduced in July 2011, Mr Walmsley had not been subjected to these from August 2011 to the date of his death.
It emerged that more than half of the officers who worked at the Dartford depot, where Mr Walmsley was based, had not been subjected to any supervision checks either.
As a result, the HSE concluded that the Highways Agency had failed to carry out the required supervision in order to ensure, as far as possible, the health and safety of its workers.
Contact Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone if you feel you could be eligible to make a claim for compensation after car crash.
Date Published: January 10, 2015
Author: David Brown