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A journalist with 13 years of experience on trade publications covering construction, local government, property, pubs, and transport.
September 14, 2017

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Inquest delivers “accidental death” verdict for Leyton building collapse case

Marian Nemit

(Image: Marian Nemit)

The death of a Romanian man on a construction site in Leyton has been deemed an ‘accidental death’ by an inquest.

It follows a week of revelations about the case in which Marian Nemit died after a wall collapsed on him while working on a shop conversion at the Bakers Arms in Leyton in 2015.

Nemit was pulled from the rubble but had suffered serious head and body injuries and died at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

According to a witness at the inquest, Franesko Begkai who was also on-site, but claimed to not be a supervisor of Nemit’s work, explained how Nemit had used a drill hammer to break-off hard cement to accommodate new cement.

Pillar base

But Nemit had accidentally broken off part of a pillar’s base, and one side of the pillar was ‘in the air’.

Begkai warned Nemit against undertaking any further work on the foundation because it was now unsafe – and told him to stop using the drill hammer.

He claims Nemit understood the warning and said he would return to the broken pillar only to collect debris.

Begkai said he was not in a supervisory position to tell him what ‘he could or could not do’ and was just advising him.

Earlier in the day, Nemit had received instructions from Begkai, who had spoken to him in English, having previously spoken to their mutual boss, George Isidorou, of GI Construction in their native Greek.

Isidorou claimed that he believed the instructions provided to both parties had been adequate and they both understood the work involved.

Greatly exaggerated

A spokesperson for the family of Nemit, following the verdict, said that his ability to speak English was ‘greatly exaggerated’.

They said: “There was no supervisor on the site on the morning of the incident.

“George Isidorou, of GI Construction, who was the principle contractor for the refurbishment said he had spoken to both men that morning and given them instructions on what to do that he thought both men understood before he left.

“Mr Isidorou was questioned about the employment relationship with Marian who was employed as a labourer and who had been working there for three or four days, replying he was the boss and Marian was to invoice him for the work and was not an employee.”

“Mr Isidorou used his right to refuse to answer following advice from his barrister when asked questions about site supervision, who was responsible for safety, risk assessments, identifying risks.”

The Health and Safety Executive’s inspector Gabriella Dimitrov also gave evidence at the inquest, but an investigation into the incident is still on-going.

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In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, we hear from Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics Consultant at HSE’s Science and Research Centre, about the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.

Matt, an ergonomics and human factors expert, shares his thoughts on why MSDs are important, the various prevalent rates across the UK, what you can do within your own organisation and the Risk Management process surrounding MSD’s.

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