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Impregilo accused of safety failings after dam accident

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MOTT MACDONALD has accused Italian contractor Impregilo of failing to implement health and safety procedures following an accident on site at the Kárahnjúkar Dam project in Iceland, which left a construction worker critically injured.

Group managing director Keith Howells told NCE that he was planning to write to the chief executive of Impregilo expressing his concerns over health and safety on the £651M, 690MW hydroelectric project.

'I am thinking of writing a letter to their chief executive as I am extremely concerned about the procedures on site, ' he said.

Howells explained that although Impregilo has a stringent safety policy he fears that this is not followed on site.

Mott MacDonald is the leading firm in a joint venture consortia that is supervising construction of the 190m high dam and 60km tunnel for national power company Landsvirkjun.

Last week an Impregilo worker was critically injured after he fell 50m down the dam wall, landing on a steel reinforcement rod.

'The man was standing on the side of the dam directing a crane that sat on the crest of the dam above him. He was holding on to a guide rope, but instead of releasing the rope after the load was placed he hung on to it and was dragged off the slope, ' explained an Impregilo spokesman.

'At the time the crane was moving formwork, ' he said.

The spokesman conrmed that the worker was not wearing a safety harness, although he was wearing full personal protective equipment.

A full investigation is now being carried out by the Icelandic Occupational Health and Safety Administration.

'As soon as the incident occurred at the dam site all work stopped until the health and safety administration said work could continue. This was done after a couple of hours, ' said the Impregilo spokesman.

'We are fully complying with the investigation. Our health and safety standards are even harsher than Icelandic law, ' he said.

On another part of the project, on the same day, a worker from another contractor - Croatian m Dalekovod - was killed while installing transmission lines on the Fljó;tsdalshei­i moor for transmission company Landsnet. An insulator fell from one of the transmission towers and landed on top of him.

At the time of going to press clients Landsvirkjun and Landsnet were unavailable for comment.

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