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September 24, 2010

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Construction giant sentenced for death at Premier League club

Construction firm Kier North West has been fined £160,000 after a labourer fell to his death during the construction of Everton FC’s new training academy.

Karl Davis, 42, was working for Kier North West, part of the Kier Group, when the incident took place on 27 February 2007. He was clearing up waste from the first floor of a building at the Finch Lane site in Halewood, Merseyside ahead of a visit by the Everton players.

He was placing debris into a rubbish chute, which had been attached to a guardrail by an open window frame, when the guardrail gave way and he fell headfirst to the ground. He was taken to hospital, where he remained in a coma for three months, before dying as a result of his injuries.

The HSE visited the site on the day of the incident and found that Kier North West had failed to ensure that the guardrail could hold the weight of the chute and the materials that were thrown down it. The company was issued a Prohibition Notice, which required work to stop until stable edge protection was put in place.

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.

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

Kier North West appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on 23 September and pleaded guilty to breaching s2(1) of the HSWA 1974. In addition to the fine it was ordered to pay £43,993 in costs.

In mitigation, the firm said it had no previous related convictions and entered an early guilty plea. It told the court it had complied with the Prohibition Notice.

Following the hearing, a statement from Kier Group 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.”

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13 years ago

Note the size of the fine-this seems to be the trend now £100 000 is the starting point for fines where someone is killed especially if the company is a big one that can afford it.

13 years ago

Once again, a prosecution by the HSe with the benefit of hindsite. This company had a guardrail in place with a waste chute to a skip. Why was the guard rail strong enough to take the waste chute plus the material in it? How much material?? a whole chuteful or just a half a chute??
Does this mean a structural repoort for every rail that supports a shute. THe one in the picture looks fairly short, what happpens when they are much longer.