Camden Trades Council

Uniting workers and communities in the London Borough of Camden

THERE ARE MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS?  CROSSRAIL DEATH OF RENE TKACIK from CONSTRUCTION SAFETY CAMPAIGN   LONDON HAZARDS CENTRE 



The inquest into the death of Rene Tkacik who was killed on crossrail, has resulted in many questions still left unresolved.

How was it possible to consider if Rene’s death was preventable when a key witness, a whistleblower, was denied the opportunity to give evidence? And why was he denied?

Serious concerns had been raised with Crossrail management prior to Rene’s death, regarding falls of Shotcrete and of the potential lethal consequences. They were ignored. This could have been revealed at the inquest. Why not ?

Repeated attempts to warn BBMV and Crossrail, HSE notified about these issues. but Whywere not taken seriously?

The inquest heard there were no clear Exclusion zones to prevent men wandering into areas of freshly applied Shotcrete why was this?

It had been witnessed that men had been required to work on freshly applied Shotcrete yet this evidence was denied at the inquest. Why? 

During the inquest managers, some who hadn’t worked at Fisher street where Rene was killed, claimed that before anyone could enter the area tests had to be carried out. Asked if that was the case at Fisher street some didn’t know. Why is that? 

Why were they called when witnesses who raised safety issues were not called?

At least one manager said they had witnessed people going into the exclusion zone, so it was entirely possible, why was that? and what action taken?

It emerged that Fisher street now uses a chain to identify the zone, but at the time of Rene’s death didn’t have any clear exclusion zone. Why?          

The jury heard that Rene was a highly experienced man, who on previous jobs had been responsible for safety. There was an unclear exclusion zone. Was Rene told to clear Shotcrete following a break in the flow of Shotcrete using a shovel while waiting for a new flow? It has already been said that men had been required to work under freshly applied Shotcrete why was this ? 

We heard Rene spoke Spanish and at one time been put with a team of Spanish speakers, because his English was very poor. Why was he removed from that team? 

There were reported difficulties in his response to instructions, because of language, from his team mates and frustraition bordering on annoyance by them, who was responsible for making sure he understood instructions. When this was brought to management attention what action did they take? 

The jury learned that Rene had suffered prior to his death from fatigue, why was this? If the jury had been allowed to listen to safety concerns that had been raised, could it be that diesel fumes played a part? 

Were there adequate filters fitted to machines? 

There are well known risks associated with diesel fumes and what about dust from Shotcrete. Masks were supplied but Were they fit for purpose, suitable for dust and fumes? 

Questions on these issues were raised by the Whistleblower who’s evidence wasn’t deemed relevant why?

Serious accidents have, we’ve reason to believe, happened and an Ambulance wasn’t called, a serious risk to life and surely against any safety procedures. The injured worker taken to Hospital in the firm’s van. Why?

A leaked safety report from  “Mind safety “ reported in several National newspapers last year, was damning, revealing workers too scared of being sacked for daring to speak out about safety concerns ! It stated there was a culture of spying and fear afraid of reporting near misses and injuries!

In the past couple of weeks 2 workers have been dismissed for raising safety concerns 1 reinstated following protests. 

Frank Morris was dismissed for raising safety issues and reinstated a year later following a yearlong campaign.

Crossrail claims near misses must be reported so that lessons can be learned across all of Crossrail. 

Why then deny workers who tried to raise safety, the opportunity to give evidence? 

If they are so concerned about safety, why have they dismissed workers for raising safety?

Why did the “Mind safety “report speak of intimidation and fear, bullying, and knee jerk reactions to safety? 

Considering that many of the contractors operating on Crossrail are known Blacklisters and that they’ve Blacklisted 100’s if not 1000’s of workers, many for raising safety. Doesn’t that suggest they haven’t a very good record of listening to safety concerns including exposure to Asbestos which kills at least 2000 workers in this country each year alone? 

In 2009 the report “One death is too many “ looked into the unacceptable death toll in construction ! Recommendation 15 —– stated —–

The positive role that trade unions can play in health and safety is not fully appreciated by the construction industry and I recommend that more should be done, particularly by the larger construction companies to encourage joint working with the unions.  

Not 1 single company has yet apologised for Blacklisting trade unionists for raising safety issues, hardly suggests they give a monkeys.

We do not accept that Rene’s death was accidental when so many questions remain unanswered ? We repeat our call for a public enquiry into health and safety on the Crossrail project. 

Pete Farrell Chair CSC / Lon/ Hazards  .

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