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Death at work - Jennifer's story

Jennifer Deeney
The Coroner’s inquest into the death of my husband was a very a painful event.  How many other families will need to suffer before sufficient action is taken to prevent these accidents from happening? – Jennifer Deeney

Jennifer and Kieron Deeney had been married for three months and were hoping to start a family when he set off to his work as a steel fixer on a Laing O’Rourke construction site where he died in a completely preventable accident.

Kieron was working on a high rise building in Canary Wharf when he stepped on a hatch cover which suddenly gave way beneath him.  It turned out that the access hatch had been covered with a rotten piece of plywood, held in place with two nails and little overlap on each edge.  Kieron fell 40 feet and died instantly.  The inquest into Kieron’s death brought a verdict of ‘unlawful killing’.

Kieron’s widow Jennifer approached Sally Moore for advice and support throughout the inquest and criminal process and Sally also represented Jennifer in her successful claim for compensation.

Jennifer works as a matron in the neonatal unit of a major hospital.  Despite her busy work life she has become an outspoken supporter on the importance of safety culture and gives up much of her spare time to raise awareness of health and safety on construction sites.  She has challenged politicians who have announced plans to reduce the health and safety protection offered to workers. Jen announce the winner of ‘The Deeney Award’ in 2012 for the most inspiring team or organisation that has made a contribution to the safety of others.  Jen was also invited to carry the Olympic torch through the London Borough of Merton in the summer of 2012 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to health and safety in the face of her own personal tragedy. 

Jen has made a safety training film, It will never happen to me, in which she describes the terrible effect Kieron’s death has had on family and friends, and she spends much of her spare time promoting good health and safety practice in all types of workplaces.  The video has now gone global – her story brings home the reality of what happens when there is a lack of care for others.

Jen has raised over £200,000 for 'The Lighthouse Club', a charity which supports workers and the families of those injured or killed in construction accidents.

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