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Fine after worker killed while pumping concrete

29 May 2019

AN ESSEX-based company has been fined following the death of concrete worker Garry Louis at a dockside apron-upgrade project on the Port of Felixstowe.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard how R. W. Hill (Felixstowe) Limited was employed as the main contractor working to replace the Berth 7 roadway at the Trinity Terminal of the port and had sub-contracted a specialist concrete pumping contractor to pump the concrete and a concrete laying contractor to lay the concrete.

On 7 August 2015, a flexible delivery hose through which concrete was being pumped became momentarily blocked, then cleared under pressure, causing it to violently whip round. Mr Louis, an employee of the concrete laying sub-contractor was killed, and another worker suffered cuts and bruising.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that R. W. Hill (Felixstowe) Limited had failed to effectively plan and manage the safe pumping of concrete, in that an exclusion zone around the flexible delivery hose was not enforced. The investigation also found the company did not adequately supervise, instruct nor did it provide suitable information to sub-contractors, and failed to monitor the pumping operations to ensure the ongoing safety of workers.

R. W. Hill (Felixstowe) Limited of Lodge Lane, Grays, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 15(2) and 15(8) of the Construction, (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and has been fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,883.60.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Glyn Davies said: “This tragic incident could easily have been prevented had the company involved acted to identify and manage the well-documented risks involved in concrete pumping by the implementation of suitable safe systems of work.

“As this case sadly demonstrates, poorly managed concrete pumping operations can and do kill construction workers when industry safety guidance is not followed. HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”