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Unlawful killing verdict for a Laing O'Rourke construction worker

On Wednesday 7 February, an inquest jury announced a verdict of unlawful killing in the case of Kieron Deeney who fell 40 feet to his death on a Laing O'Rourke construction site in Canary Wharf.

Posted on 07 February 2007

An inquest jury today brought a verdict of ‘unlawful killing’ in the case of Kieron Deeney, an experienced steel fixer who fell 40 feet to his death when a hatch cover gave way at a Laing O’Rourke construction site in Canary Wharf, London.

Accidents involving falls from heights remain the biggest cause of workplace deaths and one of the main causes of major injury. The most recent statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showed that 28% of all worker fatalities were in the construction industry with 41% of deaths due to ‘falls from a height’. These deaths continue to occur despite the introduction of new legislation such as the ‘Work at Height Regulations 2005’.

Kieron was killed in an avoidable incident because he fell through an access point that was only covered by an old piece of plywood fixed by two nails.  The completion of the inquest means that the HSE will now be able to decide on whether to bring a criminal prosecution against Laing O’Rourke under the Health and Safety Act 1974.

Sally Moore, Head of the Accidents and Disasters team at Leigh Day & Co solicitors, has been advising Kieron’s wife, Jennifer on all legal aspects relating to his death including the inquest.  Sally Moore comments: “We are very grateful to the Coroner for conducting a full and thorough investigation.  Kieron’s death was the result of Laing O’Rourke’s failure to ensure that on-site health and safety procedures were adhered too. The construction industry needs to put in place more stringent safety controls as they are required to do under the current legislation.  The continuing levels of death and injury indicate that this is just not happening”

Kieron and Jennifer had only been married three months and were planning a family when she received the news of his death.  Jennifer said “The Coroner’s inquest into the death of my husband has been very painful event.  How many other families will need to suffer before sufficient action is taken to prevent these accidents from happening”

Laing O’Rourke rightly admitted responsibility for Kieron’s death during a civil claim for compensation in 2006, but a financial payment is a poor substitute for future that has been taken away due to incompetence.

For further information, please contact Sally Moore on 020 7650 1200

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