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Three companies charged after four men crushed to death on building site

Posted in: Employer Negligence Workplace Injuries Wrongful & Accidental Death 

Following the death of four men on a building site five years ago, charges were pressed against three companies and a company director for breaches of safety regulations. The defendants, Claxton Engineering Services Ltd of Norwich, Encompass Project Management Ltd of Thetford, Hazegood Construction Ltd of Stowmarket and David Groucott, Director of Encompass Project Management Ltd were all charged under different sections of the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974. The four who perished in the accident were Daniel Hazelton aged 30, his brother 26-year-old Thomas Hazelton, Adam Taylor, 28 and Peter Johnson aged 42. The men died on 21 January 2011 when a steel cage in which they were working “folded like a picnic table” crushing them to death.

Fixing reinforcing steel when structure collapsed

An inquest which took place on 2 February 2015 heard how 13-tonnes of rebar collapsed on them whilst carrying out work to reinforce the concrete foundations of a high pressure test bay at Claxton Engineering in Great Yarmouth. The men were inside the cage, which was inside a 2 meter deep trench the length of a tennis court. They were fixing reinforcing steel above their heads when the structure collapsed.

At the inquest, Coroner Jacqueline Lake told the jury that accidental death was the only verdict open to them. The families of the deceased stressed how important it was to them that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) would “take appropriate action against those responsible so justice is done, and that lessons will be learned to ensure such a terrible tragedy never happens again”.

Representing the HSE, Jon Elven said: “The HSE will now review the evidence in light of the inquest and decide about whether further criminal proceedings are appropriate, and will announce any decision in relation to this in due course”.

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