Thursday, 27 November 2008

Fault 9: No specific risk assement carried out.

If a Highway Authority depart from guidance they should carry out a specific risk assessment and record the results with the full reasons they departed from guidance to establish a full audit trail in case an accident occur in the future.

Cheshire County Council argue that they have not departed from guidance and as such didn't need to carry out a specific risk assessment. However, you only have to walk along the highway in question and read the relevant guidance documents/codes of practices to realise there has been a significant departure from guidance.

NOTE: the developer was refused permission to do something similar on at least three seperate occasions between 1991 and 1997. I was at one of the meetings when the council turned the developer down. The reason given: It would be unsafe and in any event it was a significant departure from guidance.

This is what another County Council has to say about safety and risk: 'In the event of an accident it may be possible for an individual to make a substantial claim in negligence against the County Council if an incident could be linked to a decision taken against the outcome of a Safety Audit. In addition it could be argued that the County Council as Highway Authority has breached its statutory duty to assert and protect the rights of the public in taking such a decision. Any fatality could also give rise to a prosecution of the County Council for corporate manslaughter.'

Corporate Manslaughter against Highway Authorities will be considered by the Police in accordance with The Road Death Investigation Manual Version 2 2004. Extracts below.

'Road geometry: This will ultimately have an effect on the perceptions and actions of a road user. Roads are required to be designed to national standards for alignment and visibility, although many of the more recent standards were not required to be retrospectively applied to existing roads. It is important therefore to consider provision against the appropriate standard of design during any investigation.'

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