Family Of Worker Killed On Crossrail Project Hope Lessons Have Been Learned In Wake Of Tragedy

Wife And Daughter Call For An Apology from BFK

26.01.2016

The heartbroken wife and daughter of a construction worker killed in central London as he worked on the Crossrail project have said they hope lessons have been learned after an out of court settlement was agreed.

Rene Tkacik, 44, from Slovakia, died on 7 March 2014 while working as a concrete sprayer contractor on the project at Fisher Street in Holborn. An inquest held at St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard that a tonne of wet concrete fell on him as he worked in a tunnel.

The inquest also heard that there was no physical barrier to mark an exclusion zone to protect workers from entering into a dangerous area at the time of Rene’s death and that he was found in this zone after the incident.

The jury recorded a narrative verdict and found that the definition and supervision of the exclusion zone was unclear. They also found that the lack of physical demarcation caused confusion and that the translation of daily briefings took place on an ad hoc basis.

His wife Renata Tkacikova and his daughter Ester Tkacikova instructed specialist workplace injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the incident and to ensure the family received the vital financial support they needed following the loss of Rene who was the main earner in the family.

The legal team at Irwin Mitchell has now secured the family an undisclosed out-of-court settlement despite BFK, a contractor used on the Crossrail project, denying liability for the incident. The family now say they continue to wait for an apology from the company regarding Rene’s death.

Chani Dhaliwal, the specialist workplace injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who represented the family, said: “The tragic death of Rene, a much-loved husband and father who died while working to provide for his family, has been absolutely devastating for Renata and Ester.

“The inquest heard that had a safe system of work been implemented then this accident may never have happened and it clearly illustrates the importance of safety precautions in the workplace.

“We were determined to help Rene’s wife and daughter gain justice regarding the sequence of events which led to his death, as well as to help gain reassurances that lessons have been learned which will ensure no one else faces the difficulties they have been forced to endure.

“Thankfully, we have now been able to secure them a settlement which will provide financial security for the family after the loss of their husband and father. Nothing can change the past but hopefully it will enable them to begin to come to terms with what has happened.”

Since the accident the system of work at the Fisher Street site of Crossrail has changed and a physical barrier has been put in place. The jury at the inquest heard that not having a physical barrier meant that the position of the exclusion zone was subjective and not clearly marked.

Renata Tkacikova, Rene’s widow, said: “We miss Rene very much and we are still struggling to come to terms with his death. He went to London to work and earn money to send Ester to university and we never contemplated that we would not see him again. We are still waiting for an apology from BFK following Rene’s death.

“Nothing can turn back the clock and bring Rene back but the settlement following his death will ensure Ester can go to university so she can have a bright future. It’s what he would have wanted more than anything and he worked so hard for his family.

“One of the most important things for us is that lessons are learned and that the health and safety of those working on the Crossrail project is not put at risk. We hope that all possible precautions are taken to reduce the risk of further incidents.”