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Consultant and two contractors fined over underpinning site death


A STRUCTURAL engineer and two contractors have been fined a total of £95,000 following the death of a Romanian site worker on an underpinning project in London.

Ionit Simionica, 22, was killed when a 1.5t unsupported section of wall fell on him while he was working in an excavation at St Mary's Church in Bryanston Square, W1 on 26 February 2001.

Following an investigation into the death, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Lindsay Barr, David O'Keefe & Co Ltd and Britin Construction Ltd.

The three, who had pleaded not guilty, received fines totalling £95,000 plus costs of £60,000 at Southwark Crown Court on 1 February.

The underpinning was being carried out as part of refurbishment of the church.

The crypt fl oor was being lowered, which involved excavating under the foundations in short sections and casting concrete pins beneath.

Following sentencing, HSE Inspector Barry Mullen, who investigated the case, said: 'The untimely death of Mr Simionica came about through the failure to take appropriate action in relation to a potential risk in the underpinning work that had been brought to the attention of both the structural engineer and the contractors.

'The possible risks should have been addressed by uncomplicated measures including a detailed structural investigation, suitable and suffi cient risk assessments and adequate protective measures, such as propping of the foundations.' Structural engineer Lindsay Barr of Lindsay Barr Associates, Chesham, Buckinghamshire was fi ned £45,000 and ordered to pay costs of £30,000 to HSE.

Principal contractor David O'Keefe & Co Ltd of Prince George's Road, London SW19 was fi ned £25,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,000.

Britin Construction Ltd of Aylesford, Kent, was fi ned £25,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,000.

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