Eight long years too long

An electrician, working on a demolition site in Elephant and Castle in south London was killed in August 2007 when falling concrete joists crushed him to death. Only now - in November 2015 – has his employer been made to admit negligence.

UCATT the construction union asks - how does Britain allow the bereaved families of workers - who suffer the totally unnecessary and negligent death of a love one - to be plunged into an eight year legal nightmare?

UCATT Acting General Secretary, Brian Rye, said: “Spare a thought for the family of electrician John Walker who was not only taken from them by workplace negligence but who have then had to endure almost a decade of legal proceedings before blame was finally assigned. This was not a public enquiry into a war, a plane crash or a complicated corporate legal case. One man died on London’s Walworth Road and yet it took long eight years to assign cause and blame.”

Employer 777 Demolition & Haulage and sister firm 777 Environmental were found guilty at Southwark Crown Court on November 2 of breaching health and safety regulations by failing to investigate the nature of the structure, which led to an uncontrolled collapse. Together the companies were fined £215,000 and had to pay additional legal costs of £168,000 to the Health and Safety Executive.

Mr Rye added: “Shame on this employer and shame on all of us for allowing families to be put through such hell. There is no justifiable reason why a case like this should not be resolved quickly. This is a tawdry saga that has wasted time and money, and only served to exacerbate the deep, deep pain and loss felt by a family. We say to the Health and Safety Executive and all the other bodies involved in these cases– this should not happen again.”


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