A SITE engineer who tried to take a short cut at Heathrow fell and impaled himself on a chrome pillar 4 m below.
Michael Preston, of Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, died almost instantly after the pillar used for crowd control at the terminal three check-in went through his neck and chest.
Hammersmith Coroner's Court was told last week that Mr Preston was working on a scheme to build a new floor above the check-in, which was closed for the night.
Colleague Richard Miller saw Mr Preston using a public phone at the top of an escalator next to the site.
He told the inquest: 'The next thing I knew was another workman shouting 'your mate's had an accident'. He had taken a short cut back.
I can't say why, I think he tried to climb over the escalator to get to the site scaffolding.'
Both men were employed by G and H Engineering and it was their first day on site.
Health and Safety Executive inspector John Higginson said that to get to the site other than by the proper route, Mr Preston would have had to have gone to the top of the escalator, which had been switched off, and then climb 50 cm to the scaffolding. He had somehow slipped through this gap to the concourse below.
The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.