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The Three Fatalities Behind Laing O’Rourke’s Rejection

of its

Mission Zero Campaign


The workers who lost their lives were Richard Laco (31 years of age), Richard Reddish (29 years of age) and Philip Griffiths (38 years of age). The fatal accidents occurred, respectively, November 6th 2013, July 8th 2014 and October 2nd 2014.



Richard Laco was crushed to death when a section of staircase (weighing approx 1.2 tonnes) being lowered into position slipped from its slings.


Mr Laco was contracted by CMF Ltd to work on a site where Laing O’Rourke were the main contractor. CMF were convicted under s.3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and fined £185,000 with £20,606 in costs on 25/4/17.


The Coroner sent a Prevention of Future Deaths Report to the Managing Director of Laing O’Rourke UK & Europe and the Contracts Director of CMF.



Richard Reddish, employed by Explore Manufacturing Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of Laing O’Rourke), was crushed and trapped under an 11 Ton concrete panel after being thrown form a Mobile Elevating Work Platform.


Three concrete panels were involved and the Nottingham Post reported Mrs Reddish as saying there had been a ‘domino effect’; she also revealed that there had been on-going concerns about aspects of the ways in which work was carried out at the Explore factory where her husband (Mr Reddish Snr) also worked. There were more panels in the factory than could be coped with and the Judge declared that to be “symptomatic” of the way Explore Manufacturing was “operating at that time”.


Nottingham Crown Court fined Explore Manufacturing £2,000,000 and Select Plant Hire (also owned by Laing O’Rourke) £1,800,000 16/10/17 (fines were later reduced to £1.3 and £1.2 million in line with reductions for early guilty pleas).


According to the Nottingham Post, the Judge attributed the death to the failure by both companies to provide the decease with either “a safe place or system of work”. Speaking after the trial, the HSE Inspector stated that the “death could easily have been prevented, if the companies had acted following previous warnings to identify and manage the risks involved, maintain the equipment, and put a safe system of work in place.”


Philip Griffiths died in what the Police described as a ‘tragic collision’ with a dumper on a service road at Heathrow Airport. Coroner's verdict was accidental death.


Following a guilty plea to a charge under 22(1)(a) of CDM 2007, Laing O’Rourke were convicted and fined £800,000 on 24th March 2017. 


Note: it may assist some readers to do a little research around the cited fatalities in order to gain a fuller appreciation of their general circumstances.


Interim Observation and Comment:

According to John Green (Laing O'Rourke's H&S Director), the above sites showed “no early warning signs of a lax safety culture” nor sent up “the early warning flags that ‘Heinrich’s triangle’ would suggest”. However, his belief that an historic triangle or cultural survey should have sent up warnings in respects of the above circumstances is questionable. Either way, the burning question is simple...what ‘sort’ of ‘warnings’ is John Green advising his employer to look out, when, where and why? Alternatively, has he surrendered to the academic notion that such accidents are not predictable?


For some, Mrs Reddish possessed readily available information in respect of on-going concerns. Similarly, the conditions and practices commented on by the Judge should have been obvious even to a cursory enquiry, observation or audit. Similarly discernible would have been the findings of the HSE Inspector and Coroner. As such, some might ask whether safety differently is needed, or just safety properly?




The Institute of Industrial Accident Investigators. All rights reserved.