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Subcontractor killed at a Leeds Laing O’Rourke site

Laing O’Rourke ‘devastated’ by second death this month after a subcontractor killed at a site near Leeds.

The incident – on 13 November at a sewage works in Knostrop – is understood to have involved a worker falling from height.

The subcontractor, a 38-year-old from Heckmondwike in West Yorkshire, had been engaged by Laing O’Rourke on behalf of its client, Yorkshire Water.

The Police and the Health & Safety Executive are carrying out investigations.

A Laing O’Rourke spokesman confirmed the death of a “member of Laing O’Rourke’s supply chain”. He added: “We are devastated. It is a dreadful tragedy for the family and friends of the deceased and all our thoughts are with them, and with our people at the site.”

Earlier this month, a Laing O’Rourke worker was killed in an explosion at a site near Welwyn Garden City. Adam Johnston, a 38-year-old plumber employed by subsidiary Crown House Data Solutions, was killed when a gas cylinder exploded in a building being constructed.

The Laing spokesman said the firm was committed to ensuring safety was a priority among its staff.

“We recognise, of course, that this comes on the back of the terrible events at Welwyn Garden City earlier this month.

We are still working with the appropriate authorities as a result of that incident and there is an ongoing investigation there – and we are cooperating fully with that work,” he said.

“I want to stress that we take each and every incident extremely seriously. Our approach to safety; our commitment to ensuring a safety culture is embedded among all our people – as well as our subcontractors and other commercial partners – is unwavering.”

The fatality at Knostrop is the third industry death in recent weeks. In addition to the two deaths at Laing O’Rourke sites, there was also a fatality following an incident at a hospital building site in Chelmsford.

In that instance, a worker died when a building on a Bouygues site partially collapsed.

The Health and Safety Executive said this month that it is undertaking an in-depth analysis of its latest construction sector injury figures after they showed a rise in incident rates for the first time in almost a decade.

The increase, which surprised many safety experts, was a blow to the Government’s Strategy for Sustainable Construction, which states that major injury rates should be falling by 10 per cent year-on-year.

Both major and over-three day injury rates increased during 2007-08. The number of major injuries reported last year was 3,764, up from 3,730 in 2006-07. The rate of major injury per 100,000 employees was 302.9 last year, up from 300.7.