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Thu October 17 2019

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Concrete pumping operation went fatally wrong

28 May An Essex-based contractor has been fined following the death of a concrete worker at a dockside apron-upgrade project on the Port of Felixstowe.

Garry Louis was killed by a thrashing concrete hose
Garry Louis was killed by a thrashing concrete hose

RW Hill (Felixstowe) Limited was employed as the main contractor working to replace the Berth 7 roadway at the Trinity Terminal of the port. It had subcontracted a specialist concrete pumping contractor to pump the concrete and a concrete laying contractor to lay the concrete.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard how on 7th August 2015 a flexible delivery hose through which concrete was being pumped became momentarily blocked, and then suddenly cleared under pressure, causing it to whip round violently. The hose struck and killed 55-year-old Garry Louis, an employee of the concrete laying subcontractor. Another worker suffered cuts and bruising.

The subsequent investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that, by not  enforcing an exclusion zone around the flexible delivery hose, RW Hill (Felixstowe) Limited had failed to effectively plan and manage the safe pumping of concrete. The investigation also found that the company did not adequately supervise, instruct or provide suitable information to subcontractors. It failed to monitor the pumping operations to ensure safety of workers.

RW Hill (Felixstowe) Limited of Lodge Lane, Grays, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 15(2) and 15(8) of the Construction, (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. It was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,883.60.

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HSE inspector Glyn Davies said after the case: “This tragic incident could easily have been prevented had the company involved acted to identify and manage the well-documented risks involved in concrete pumping by the implementation of suitable safe systems of work.

“As this case sadly demonstrates, poorly managed concrete pumping operations can and do kill construction workers when industry safety guidance is not followed. HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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