“Anguish at insulting fine for Crossrail death
The family of Rene Tkacik, the construction worker killed when a tonne of cement fell on him in a Crossrail tunnel, expressed their anguish yesterday after the BFK consortium, comprising the companies BAM, Ferrovial and Kier pleaded guilty in Southwark Crown Court.
BFK were fined £300,000 for the death of Rene. In total the court fined the consortium £1million, which included other Health & Safety breaches which had resulted in serious accidents including a near fatal electrocution.
There has been a great deal of anger as Rene’s family and their lawyer, Helen Clifford from McMillan Williams Solicitors only found out about the trial date by chance when they contacted the HSE for an update on the case earlier this week.
Ms Clifford read out a statement on behalf of Marta Tkacik and the rest of the family in open court yesterday. Rene’s mother’s statement told how receiving the phone call about her son’s death “was the most devestating news in my life. My heart was literally ripped out”.
Marta Tcacik donated her £6000 court expenses to the Construction Safety Campaign.
Lee James Fowler, blacklisted safety rep from the Blacklist Support Group, travelled from Liverpool to attend the sentencing and commented:
“Rene’s death is a tragedy but it was totally avoidable if BFK had put proper safety measures in place. But instead, the Health & Safety at Work Act was breached and at the same time the companies were victimising Frank Morris after he raised concerns about safety on the project. Blacklisting may have been a contributory factor not just in Rene’s death but a series of other near fatal accidents on Crossrail”.
It has now emerged that the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) originally intended to prosecute the three companies in their own names but lawyers acting for the Crossrail contractors agreed to plead guilty if the BFK temporary Joint Venture was charged instead. By BFK pleading guilty, it means that Bam, Ferrovial and Kier escape convictions, which may have potentially affected future public sector contracts.
Keith Dobie, blacklisted construction worker from Tottenham commented after the sentencing:
“£300,000 for a man’s life. That will cost the three multinationals £100k each – which is probably less that the bonuses that their senior managers will receive on the project. To add insult to injury, the companies even had the cheek to ask for time to pay the fine. It’s time to put people before profit”.”