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Wed March 20 2019

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Kier fined £600k for block crush incident

18 Jul 18 Kier Infrastructure has been fined £600,000 after being convicted of safety breaches that resulted in a worker being crushed by a seven-tonne concrete block.

The block toppled while lifting chains were being removed
The block toppled while lifting chains were being removed

Sentence was passed by District Judge Brown at Newport Magistrates’ Court yesterday after Kier pleaded guilty to the offence on 2nd July.

The court had heard that agency worker Peter Walker, 42, suffered life-changing injuries when a 6.93 tonne block of pre-cast concrete fell onto his leg on 15th August 2016.

Mr Walker had only recently started work at the Maerdy Bridge, Cardiff site, where Kier was principal contractor on a Network Rail project to build two bridges.

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The court heard that on the day of the accident the concrete units that would form the bridge were being relocated on the site. Mr Walker was on a ladder removing lifting chains from a block when it toppled over and his leg was crushed between the fallen unit and the one behind it.

The Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR) investigation into the incident revealed that work involved an excavator moving its boom while Mr Walker was up the ladder, which should have been prevented with proper supervision. Other examples of poor supervision included a failure to issue a ladder permit, and using the excavator to pick & carry suspended concrete blocks, which was expressly forbidden in the lift plan.

HM chief inspector of railways Ian Prosser said: “Mr Walker suffered devastating injuries in this incident and we are pleased that the severity of the sentence indicates how seriously it is taken by the court. We are absolutely committed to protecting the health and safety of workers and, as this prosecution demonstrates, we will not hesitate to take enforcement action when it is necessary."


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