Laing O’Rourke fined £800k for dumper truck fatality at Heathrow

Laing O’Rourke has been fined £800,000 for inadequate supervision at Heathrow Airport after a worker was killed by a dumper truck driven by his brother.

Philip Griffiths was working for the construction firm on October 2, 2014, when his brother Paul accidentally reversed into his 38-year-old sibling as the pair tried to move a broken down scissor lift on a service road.

Paul Griffiths tried to tow the scissor lift away using a dumper truck under the direction of managers. During the attempt his foot got stuck between the brake and the accelerator and the truck reversed. Philip, who was standing between the two vehicles, suffered crush injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that neither worker was authorised with the appropriate certificate to use the dumper truck, and that the operation was not properly overseen or managed.

Laing O’Rourke Construction Limited of Crossways in Dartford pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 at Southwark Crown Court. As well as the £800,000, the construction firm was ordered to pay costs of £10,000.

HSE Inspector Jack Wilby said: “This incident was a tragedy for all concerned and, as revealed by our investigation, entirely avoidable.

“Laing O’Rourke did nothing to address the trend of these workers carrying out tasks they weren’t trained or authorised for. These dedicated staff, including Philip and his brother, needed appropriate supervision.

“Had there been appropriate supervision, then better segregation between Philip and these two vehicles could have been established and maintained. This case should act as a reminder of the dangers of using workplace transport without proper planning, management or monitoring of the risks involved.”

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