Kier fined over Everton academy tragedy

Kier North West has been fined £160,000 after a labourer fell to his death while building Everton FC's new training academy in 2007.

Karl Davis, who was married and lived in Wallasey, was working on the first floor of a building on the Finch Lane site in Halewood when a guardrail gave way and he fell out of an open window frame.

Kier North West, part of the Kier Group, was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive after the incident on 27 February 2007. Davis remained in a coma for three months before he died.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that a rubbish chute had been attached to a temporary guardrail at the window frame, leading to a skip below. Kier North West's site management team had failed to ensure that the guardrail could withstand the weight of the chute and materials being thrown down it.

HSE inspector Robert Hodkinson said: "What is incredibly sad about this incident is that a man lost his life when equipment installed to make the work safer failed. Kier North West should have planned and managed the use of the rubbish chute on the site to make sure it was safe.

"Falls from height are the biggest single cause of death and serious injury at work and employers must make sure not only that they provide suitable safety equipment, but that it is also installed, used and maintained properly.

"If Kier North West had ensured the rubbish chute was attached to a structure which could support its weight then Davis would still be alive today."

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 for failing to ensure the safety of workers. Kier North West, which is based in Tempsford Hall in Sandy, Bedfordshire, was ordered to pay £43,993 costs in addition to the fine.

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