CONSTRUCTION union Ucatt hit out yesterday at a five-year delay in bringing charges against employers for the deaths of four workers killed on a development project.
The four men, brothers Thomas and Daniel Hazelton, Adam Taylor and Peter Johnson, died on January 21 2011, in what the union described as the worst fatal accident in the industry for many years.
They were erecting a large steel structure in a pit 13 feet below ground at the Claxton Engineering Services yard in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, when the structure collapsed and crushed them. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
A crane had to be brought in to remove the collapsed structure before the bodies could be recovered.
An investigation was launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), but it has taken the HSE five years to finally bring charges against four companies involved in the project.
The defendants in the case are Claxton Engineering Services, Encompass Project Management, David Groucott, director of Encompass Project Management, and Hazegood Construction.
They have finally been summoned to appear at Great Yarmouth magistrates’ court at 2pm on Tuesday on charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Ucatt Eastern Region acting general secretary Ron McKay said: “This was a terrible tragedy and the worst accident resulting in loss of life in construction for many years.
“The fact that it has taken over five years before this case has even got to court is far too long.
“Action needs to be taken so that HSE investigations are completed more quickly and to ensure that no other family has to endure such an excessive wait as the wheels of justice turn in the future.”
An inquest held in February 2014 returned a verdict of accidental death for the four men, who were from Suffolk.Claxton Engineering Services operates in the offshore drilling industry and has offices in Aberdeen and Dubai.
The tragedy led to calls for the then coalition government to drop plans to water down health and safety legislation.