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Crossrail contractors fined more than £1million after workman dies and two others injured in tunnel

Rene Tkacik died in tunnels below Fisher Street in March 2014 and two men were injured six days apart in January 2015

A workman died in the tunnels below Fisher Street after buried under falling wet concrete (stock photo)(Image: Getty Images)

Contractors working on Crossrail have been fined £1.065 million after a worker died and two were injured in on-site accidents.

Rene Tkacik died March 7, 2014 after being crushed by falling wet concrete in the tunnels in the Fisher Street area, near Holborn.

Two other men were also injured near the same site, six days apart from each other, in January 2015 heard Southwark Crown Court.

Three companies, Bam, Ferrovial and Kier were working on the project in a joint venture as BFK, and pleaded guilty to three offences following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Mr Tkacik, originally from Slovakia was working on a project to enlarge the tunnels by removing the rings of existing pilot tunnels and spraying wet concrete on the walls.

During this operation, a section of the roof collapsed, fatally crushing the 43-year-old.

BFK admitted breaching Regulation 10(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and were fined £300,000.

Terence 'Ian' Hughes suffered severe fractures to his right leg and crush injuries to his left knee and shin after he was truck by a reversing excavator while collecting equipment on January 16, 2015.

 

 

Six days later, on January 22, Alex Vzitiu was hit by pressurised water and concrete debris, leaving him in hospital for six days with head and hip injuries as well as a broken finger.

He was hit while cleaning the pipes for spraying concrete after a lack of communication.

The joint companies pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 22 (1a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, and were forced to pay £600,000 for Mr Hughes' injuries and £165,000 for the incident with Mr Vzitiu.

Alongside the total £1.065m fine, the companies have to pay £42,337.28 in costs.

Crossrail will link Reading and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.(Image: Crossrail)

 

HSE head of operations Annette Hall said: “The omission to implement exclusion zones in a high hazard environment was a consistent failure in this case.

"Had simple measures such as these been taken, all three incidents could have been prevented, and Renè Tkáčik may not have died.

“We believe every person should be healthy and safe at work. Here, 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.”

 

A spokesperson for the joint venture said: "BFK acknowledges and accepts the sentencing decision of the Court and is fully committed to achieving high standards of health and safety.

"It is with deep regret that these incidents ever occurred and BFK will continue to strive to achieve a working environment free from incident.

"We wish to convey our sincerest sympathies to all the families, friends and colleagues of the individuals involved. 

The new Crossrail railway line, which runs from Reading in Berkshire through central London, will open in December 2018.

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