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Kier worker crushed by concrete block

3 Jul 18 Kier is braced for a heavy fine later this month after a breach of health & safety laws resulted in a worker being crushed by a seven-tonne concrete block.

Kier Infrastructure yesterday pleaded guilty to one offence under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act at Newport Magistrates’ Court.

The magistrates heard how agency worker Peter Walker, 42, suffered life-changing injuries when pre-cast concrete block fell on one of his legs on 15th August 2016.

Mr Walker had started work only a few days before at the Maerdy Bridge site in South Wales, where Kier was principal contractor on a Network Rail project to replace two bridges.

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

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The subsequent investigation by the Office of Rail & Road (ORR) found that Mr Walker’s injuries could have been prevented if Kier had provided adequate supervision for the job.

Specifically, work on the day of the accident and the previous day involved the excavator moving its boom while Mr Walker was up the ladder, which would 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.

The court indicated that sentence will be passed on 17th July 2018.

HM chief inspector of railways Ian Prosser said: "Mr Walker suffered devastating injuries in this incident and we are pleased that the guilty plea recognises the seriousness of the offence.”

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