Health and Safety Executive
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Laing O’Rourke fined £800,000 after worker fatally crushed at Heathrow Airport

A construction firm has been sentenced following the death of Philip Griffiths at Heathrow Airport in October 2014.

Southwark Crown Court heard that Philip’s brother Paul accidentally reversed into his 38-year-old sibling when the pair were trying to move a broken down scissor lift on a service road, while working for Laing O’Rourke.

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.

Following the incident on 2 October 2014, 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, was fined £800,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000.

Speaking after sentence, 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.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/ link to external website
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk
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