Crossrail contractors fined £1m after death and injuries

A joint venture of three companies working on London’s Crossrail tunnels has been fined more than £1m after a worker was killed by wet concrete falling on him, and other safety failures leading to workers being hurt.

London’s Southwark Crown Court heard that worker Renè Tkáčik, 43 and from Slovakia, died in March 2014 after wet concrete crushed him following a roof collapse.

The two other incidents within six days in January 2015 saw a worker injured when a tipper truck crushed his leg, while another man was injured when a disconnected line sprayed him with pressurised water and concrete debris.

BFK – joint venture contractors comprising of BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman (UK) and Kier Infrastructure and Overseas – were fined £300,000 in relation to Tkáčik; £600,000 for the serious leg injuries to Terrence Hughes and £165,000 for the injuries Alex Vizitiu who hurt his head and suffered hip injuries.  

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) pursued the cases against BFK.

HSE’s head of operations Annette Hall said: "Had simple measures… been taken, all three incidents could have been prevented, and Renè Tkáčik may not have died.  

"All three workers were taking part in one of the most important and challenging infrastructure projects of the decade. It was this joint venture’s duty to protect its dedicated and highly-skilled workforce.  

"On these three occasions, BFK failed in its duty, with tragic consequences for Renè Tkáčik and his family."  
During sentencing, Judge Beddoe said: "The fines I impose do not and cannot attempt to place value on human life.  

"The deceased was a very talented and industrious man who devoted his life to his family, in particular his daughter, his wife and his mother."  

The court heard that Tkáčik was a "hugely experienced" worker when he died in 2014.

He had been working in the UK to earn money to send home to his family in Slovakia so he could pay for his daughter Esther to go to university, a statement from his wife Renata said.

Image: Thames Tunnel westbound track approaching Woolwich station (Crossrail)

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