The Bam / Ferrovial / Kier joint venture paid £350,000 in compensation to the widow of the Slovakian Crossrail worker killed in 2014 while concreting a tunnel, Construction News has learned.
The compensation was paid in January after BFK reached an out-of-court settlement with Rene Tkacik’s wife Renata Tkacikova, who had brought a civil case against the JV, which denied liability.
Ms Tkacikova claimed the consortium failed to provide her husband with a safe place to work or a safe system of work.
In court documents seen by Construction News, Ms Tkacikova further claimed that the defendant did not put up a physical barrier or warning sign marking an exclusion zone underneath wet cement.
Mr Tkacik was crushed by falling wet concrete in the Fisher Street tunnel near Holborn in March 2014. He was trimming excess concrete from Kwikastrip reinforcement bars underneath wet concrete when the accident happened.
In her claim against BFK, Ms Tkacikova said that “the defendant had neither risk-assessed nor devised a method statement for the task of trimming the Kwikastrips”.
In its defence of the claim, issued prior to the settlement, BFK denied that it had not risk-assessed the trimming operation.
It said: “Although BFK did not provide a formal briefing for the trimming of the Kwikastrip, it was understood by the mining gangs that the required tunnel profile had to be achieved and any surplus concrete should be removed by one of… three recognised and accepted methods. These methods were well known within the industry and were not specific to BFK sites.”
BFK also admitted that no physical barrier was in place to mark the exclusion zone beneath the wet concreted, but said “the deceased’s experience and training would have made him fully aware of the presence of the exclusion zone”.
The JV alleged that Mr Tkacik contributed to the accident by failing to take “reasonable care for his own safety or the safety of others”.
At an inquest in March 2015, it was found that “unclear” processes and an “unclear” definition of the exclusion zone contributed to the death of the 44-year-old.
The jury at the inquest delivered a narrative verdict, describing the death as “accidental”.
A Crossrail spokesman said: “Everyone who works on Crossrail continues to be affected by this terrible incident. Our thoughts and sympathies are with Rene Tkacik’s family, friends and colleagues.
“Safety has always been, and continues to be, the number one value for Crossrail and is critical to the delivery of the project.
“Crossrail has a good safety record and sets the most stringent contractor safety requirements in the industry. There is nothing so important on Crossrail that it cannot be done safely.”
BFK had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to press.