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MAJOR CONTRACTOR FINED AFTER FOOTBALL GROUND DEATH

Labourer suffered fatal fall after guardrail failed under rubbish chute loadings

Kier North West, part of Kier Group plc, has been fined £160k after a labourer fell to his death during construction of a training academy for Everton Football Club on 27 February 2007.

Karl Davis was working on the first floor of a building on the Finch Lane site in Halewood, Merseyside when a guardrail gave way and he fell out of an open window frame. Mr Davis remained in a coma for three months before he died on 29 May.

Chute attached to temporary guardrail

Liverpool Crown Court heard that a rubbish chute had been attached to a temporary guardrail at the window frame, leading to a skip below. The company failed to ensure the guardrail could withstand the load imposed by the chute and materials.

HSE inspector Robert Hodkinson said:

“What is incredibly sad about this incident is that a man lost his life when equipment installed to make the work safer failed. Kier North West should have planned and managed the use of the rubbish chute on the site to make sure it was safe.

Falls from height are the biggest single cause of death and serious injury at work and employers must make sure not only that they provide suitable safety equipment, but that it is also installed, used and maintained properly.

If Kier North West had ensured the rubbish chute was attached to a structure which could support its weight then Mr Davis would still be alive today.”

A spokeswoman for Kier North West said:

“Kier appreciates and accepts that it is accountable for this tragic incident. The group takes the health and safety of its workforce extremely seriously and has taken every opportunity to revisit and reinforce its site safety procedures. Our thoughts remain with Karl’s family.”

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 for failing to ensure the safety of workers. The company was ordered to pay £43,993 costs in addition to the fine.

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