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Worker dies after Balfour Beatty school site head injury

A construction worker has died after being hit by a falling manhole cover at a Balfour Beatty site in West Sussex, police have confirmed.

The 26-year-old man suffered a serious head injury last Friday while working on site at Langley Green primary school in Crawley, where Balfour Beatty is building a new school.

Sussex Police said the injury was believed to have been caused by a falling manhole cover on the site.

The man, who was an employee of a subcontractor, was taken by air ambulance to the Royal London Hospital in East London but died of his injuries on Monday afternoon, Sussex Police said.

A Balfour Beatty spokeswoman said: “Balfour Beatty confirms that there was an incident involving an employee of a subcontractor on the Langley Green Primary School project on Friday 4 October which has resulted in a fatality.

“Our immediate thoughts are with the family and friends of our colleague.”

She added: “The Health and Safety Executive and Sussex Police are carrying out a joint investigation with the full co-operation of Balfour Beatty to understand how this tragic incident occurred; therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Balfour Beatty's Zero Harm concept has always been a pie in the sky idea and a vehicle for their senior management to pat themselves on the back. Unfortunately this tragic incident has shown that Zero Harm cannot be achieved. Those Management Professionals who believe accidents can be totally eradicated from the construction workplace are misguided and dangerous individuals. Accidents will always happen as long as humans are involved in the build process. We can only hope to minimise accidents and the effects that accidents have on our workforce.

    My sympathy goes out to the family of this unfortunate incident.

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  • I'm sure most people would agree that achieving "zero harm" in the workplace is an almost impossible task, however I am surprised to see that people striving towards this, being considered by a CN reader to be "misguided and dangerous".
    I would have thought that the aim of "zero harm" is a highly laudable one. Whilst those closest to an "accident" might feel that theirs was plain "bad luck" it is commonly accepted that most accidents involve some human failing that could have been prevented, thus preventing the harm.
    Similarly, it is also possible to add controls, that might also have prevented harm, to the very few accidents that do not involve some direct human failure.

    I do not expect that anyone promoting "zero harm" is advocating always finding a culpable individual to be held up as being "responsible" for the incident or giving false hope that life at work can be without all risk of harm (either of which might be considered "dangerous").
    A key principle involved in tolerance of risk of harm is cost v benefit of prevention.

    For those affected by injury at work, every incident is one too many, and they are bound to wish that more resource had gone into preventing it.

    Fair play to all in the industry who promote the idea of "zero harm"; without these efforts, we might otherwise accept more injuries at work.

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