Firm pays out £135,000 over death

Worker falls to death

12.05.2009

A leading construction company has been fined £135,000 after one of its workers fell more than 30ft to his death through an 'inadequately' covered hole in the floor.

Irish construction giant Laing O'Rourke was told it should be 'thoroughly ashamed' by a judge after newlywed steel fixer Keiron Deeney died on its site in east London.

The 25-year-old, married just 13 weeks earlier, had been working on the luxury £55 million Discovery Dock apartment and office development when the incident occurred.

The company, which has an annual turnover of more than half a billion pounds, pleaded guilty to a single charge under health and safety legislation at an earlier hearing.

Judge Richard Hone warned the firm that it must eliminate a 'casual attitude to risk' after it was revealed that a similar accident had occurred just months before at one of its sites in Wales.

Mr Deeney died after falling 34ft through an access hole on the site which the judge described as 'hopelessly inadequately boarded'.

The judge said that systems should have been in place to ensure the covering was safe and that it was clearly marked and regularly inspected.

The judge said that using an inadequate-sized plywood board secured with just two nails to cover the hole was 'rotten carpentry' and that the 'appalling danger' should have been spotted.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "This was an appalling fatal accident. I welcome the fine imposed following this totally avoidable work accident.

"The construction industry is the industrial sector where workers are most likely to be injured or killed in an accident at work.

"All too often I have to help people claim compensation following a work accident that could so easily have been avoided."