BAM, Ferrovial and Kier JV fined £1m
28 July 2017
A contractor on the Crossrail London rail project has been fined more than £1m over three separate accidents on the project’s Fisher Street site in Holborn, including one worker fatality.
BFK, a joint venture between BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman (UK) and Kier Infrastructure and Overseas, was sentenced today (28 July) at Southwark Crown Court following the death of Rene Tkáčik on 7 March 2014, severe leg injuries sustained by Terrence Hughes on 16 January 2015, and head injuries to Alex Vizitiu on 22 January 2015.
The company pleaded guilty to three offences at a previous hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
It admitted breaching reg 10(2) of the Work at Height Regulations relating to falling objects, which led to the death of Tkáčik, and was fined £300,000.
In relation to the January 2015 incidents, BFK pleaded guilty to two separate breaches of s 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, which covers the role of the principal contractor. It was handed fines of £600,000 and £165,000 respectively.
The JV, which is the principal contractor for the construction of the western tunnels phase of the £15bn Crossrail project, was ordered to pay costs exceeding £42,000 in addition to the £1.065m penalty.
Tkáčik, originally from Slovakia, was enlarging a tunnel when he was killed. The court was told that as he removed rings of the existing pilot tunnel and sprayed walls with liquid concrete, a section of the roof collapsed on top of him.
Hughes sustained severe fractures to his right leg and crush injuries to his left knee and shin when he was hit inside a tunnel by a reversing excavator.
Six days later, Vizitiu, who was part of a team tasked with spraying liquid concrete lining, was struck by a high pressure mixture of water and concrete during a routine operation to clean concrete lines. He was hospitalised with head and hip injuries and a broken finger.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said that in the cases of Tkáčik and Vizitiu, who were both working with liquid concrete, BFK had failed to provide a safe system of work. It had also failed to properly maintain the excavator that reversed into Hughes, the executive said.
On all three occasions, the investigation revealed a failure to properly enforce exclusion zones that would have helped protect workers from foreseeable harm.
HSE head of operations, Annette Hall, said: “The omission to implement exclusion zones in a high hazard environment was a consistent failure in this case. Had simple measures such as these been taken, all three incidents could have been prevented, and Renè Tkáčik may not have died.”
Keeley Downey is assistant editor of IOSH Magazine