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    SITE SECURITY GUARD DIED FROM CO POISONING

    Contractor and security manager prosecuted over nighwatchman death

    London construction company, Precis Holdings Ltd, and security company manager, Mr Obioma Chukwudi, have been fined after a security guard died from carbon monoxide poisoning on a construction project.

    City of London Magistrates heard that Victor Etu, 36, was working as a security guard at a semi-derelict building in Mitcham, London. Precis Holdings Ltd were managing the building refurbishment.

    Crimeforce Security Ltd (since dissolved) provide 24-hour security on site and engaged Mr Etu as a guard. A petrol generator was provided by Precis Holdings Ltd to power the heating and lighting..

    On the 16 February 2008, Mr Chudwudi attended the site having not heard from Mr Etu who was on the night patrol shift. Mr Etu was found lying on the floor in an office on the second storey of the building.

    The generator was in another room off the same corridor. An ambulance was called and Mr Etu was declared dead at the scene. The post mortem examination stated that Mr Etu died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

    Findings of risk assessment not implemented

    HSE investigation showed that Precis Holdings Ltd failed to ensure the generator was safe and without risks to health. The company of Park Lane, Westminster pleaded guilty to breaching HSW Act 1974 Section 4(2) and was fined £60,000 with an order to pay costs of £24,515.

    Mr Chukwudi failed to take effective steps to ensure that the generator was not operated within the building; did not implement the findings of a risk assessment and failed to provided Mr Etu with information, instruction and supervision in respect of the use of the generator. He pleaded guilty to breaching HSW Act Section 3(2) and was fined £30,000 with an order to pay costs of £15,000.

    HSE Inspector, Loraine Charles said:

    “Mr Etu’s death in such distressing circumstances would have been completely avoidable had either Precis Holdings Ltd or Mr Chukwudi given sufficient thought to the implications of putting Mr Etu to work, alone, guarding this large empty building – or taken effective steps to prevent the operation of the generator inside the building.”

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