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Health and safety failures led to workers death crash

A string of health and safety failures led to the death of two welders who were killed as they drove back to Doncaster in their company van.

The driver, Zac Payne (20) had just finished a 25 hour shift when he and his colleague Michael Morris (48) set off on a 140 mile journey back to the firm’s Doncaster depot, in June 2013.

Both men were killed when Mr Payne fell asleep at the wheel and their van crashed into the back of a parked HGV on the A1, near Claypole.

After a lengthy and complex trial, railway contactor, Renown Consultants Limited was found guilty of failing to ensure the safety of its workers.

The company had breached working time limits for safety critical work, which states that there must be a minimum rest period of 12 hours between booking off one job and starting another.

In a further failing, despite the company’s insurance policy stipulating that drivers must be over 25 years, Mr Payne, along with other under 25s were regularly allowed to drive company vans.

In a virtual sentencing at Nottingham Crown Court, the judge said that Renown had failed to comply with its own fatigue management procedures and that managers had showed a “wilful blindness” towards the risks of driving between jobs.

The company was fined £450,000 and ordered to pay costs of £300,000.

Diane Parker, personal injury solicitor commented: “This was a tragic incident that has left two families devastated.

The risks of fatigue and driving long distances are very well known. This is a prime example of what happens when you have policies and procedures in place but then fail to implement them.

Unfortunately, we see this kind of incident far too much – it often comes down to profit before safety.”

In addition to the fine and costs already imposed for health and safety failures, the company could face further significant costs should the families pursue personal injury compensation.