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March 4, 2015

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Inquest concludes into death of Crossrail worker

The inquest has concluded into the death of Rene Tkacik, the construction worker who was killed on the Crossrail project in London last year.

Mr Tkacik, 44, from Slovakia, was fatally injured on 7 March 2014 when just under a tonne of wet concrete fell down on top of him as he was undertaking his duties in the tunnel, the inquest at St Pancras Coroners Court heard.

The hearing revealed that a physical barrier to demarcate the exclusion zone, in which no one should enter, was not in place at the time of Mr Tkacik’s death. He was found in the zone following the accident at Fisher Street in Holborn.

Since the accident, the system of work at the Fisher Street site of the Crossrail project has changed and physical barrier has been put in place. The jury heard that not having a physical barrier meant that the position of the exclusion zone was subjective and not clearly marked.

Recording a narrative verdict, the jury found that the definition and supervision of the exclusion zone was unclear. The lack of physical demarcation caused confusion. The jury also found that the translation of daily briefings took place on an ad hoc basis.

Following the conclusion of the inquest, workplace injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell acting for Mr Tkacik’s wife Renata Tkacikova and his daughter Eter Tkacikova have said they are focused on ensuring that his family gets the financial support they need following their loss.

Chani Dhaliwal, the legal specialist at Irwin Mitchell who is representing Mr Tkacik’s wife and daughter, said: “The inquest has provided important information regarding the chain of events which led to the tragedy that claimed the life of Mr Tkacik, a much-loved husband and father who died while working to provide for his loved ones.

“We are particularly concerned by the system of work that was deployed at the Fisher Street site of Crossrail. Had a safe system of work been implemented then this accident may never have happened.

“Following the conclusion of the hearing, we are determined to help Mr Tkacik’s wife and daughter to gain justice regarding the sequence of events which led to his death, as well as to help gain reassurances that lessons have been learned which will ensure no one else faces the difficulties they have been forced to endure.”

Renata Tkacikova, Rene’s widow, said: “Rene was a loving husband and father – we miss him very much.

“My daughter has not come to terms with the loss of her father and I am concerned for her as she is at an important stage of her education as she is studying for her a-levels.

“I have also struggled without him. I do not feel that I have come to terms with my loss and I do not understand how this incident could have happened. Rene had gone over to London to work and we had never contemplated that we would not see him again.”

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Business case seems to miss worker safety – SafetyAtWorkBlog
8 years ago

[…] The business case includes a table outlining the key risks of the project (page 196). The risk of a tunnel collapse, although not specified, is addressed in its geotechnical assurances but there is no identification of the associated risks to workers under the Construction Risks category, and yet worker deaths have been a recent reality on other rail tunnel projects. […]