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    COMPANIES DENY GUILT OVER LIVERPOOL FATALITY

    Workman fell seven storeys to his death on major city centre project 

    The Liverpool Echo has reported on legal proceedings at Liverpool Crown Court involving Warrington based Amec Group Ltd and Buro Happold Ltd of Bath.

    The prosecutions arise from the death of Christopher Heaton, aged 25, during construction of apartments in the Spinningfields area of Manchester in April 2004. The workman fell 25m to his death.

    Liverpool Crown Court has heard the men were working on a bridge linking two 17-storey towers when an anchorage plate and a chain block fell after steel securing studs failed.

    Workman “dragged over” safety rail by falling chain

    Nigel Lawrence, prosecuting, said:

    “Suddenly the studs failed. This caused the anchoring bracket to fall. As it fell, Mr Heaton became entangled in the falling chain and was dragged over the safety rail of the platform on which he had been standing. He fell to his death seven storeys, some 25 metres, below.”

    Shawton Engineering Ltd, of Newton-le-Willows, have already admitted failing to provide adequate safety systems of work. However, the other defendants have denied the health and safety charges alleging failure to ensure the safety of non-employees.

    Mr Lawrence told the jury their role was not to rule on the cause of Mr Heaton’s death. He added

    “What the prosecution say is that, even had the accident not occurred, the offences would have still existed, people, non- employees of both defendants, were still exposed to risk by the defendants. Sadly, as you know, an accident did occur, clear and unequivocal proof we would say of the existence of the possibility that such risk existed”

    In March 2005 the Manchester Evening News reported on a further fatality on this project. The project health and safety manager died instantly after he was struck by a falling concrete block.

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