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Clancy Docwra fined £1m and excavator driver sentenced after crush fatality

 An employee of infrastructure contractor Clancy Docwra has been handed a six month custodial sentence after the excavator he was operating crushed and killed a site supervisor during night-time piling operations at an east London site.

The offence also resulted in a £1m fine plus a bill of £108,000 in prosecution costs for Clancy Docwra.

Both the supervisor, Daniel Walsh, and his employer originally pleaded not guilty to charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act, in Walsh’s case under Section 7(a).

The firm was acting as principal contractor at a project for London’s Docklands Light Railway in Warton Road in Stratford.

On 2 March 2014, Kevin Campbell, 40, was working at night as lead supervisor of piling operations. At the time of the accident, he was disconnecting lifting equipment from a metal pile that had just been extracted from the ground.

Nearby, a 35 tonne excavator was being operated by site supervisor Walsh, along with its excavator mounted vibrator (EMV), a piece of equipment designed for driving and extracting piles. 

Campbell was crushed against a concrete wall by the EMV. A medical team from London’s Air Ambulance service attended but Campbell was pronounced dead at the scene.


If the risks had been properly considered by the company, then the likelihood of such an incident occurring would have been significantly reduced

HSE inspector Darren Alldis



The HSE found that Walsh had failed to take reasonable care for other persons on the site at the time, while Clancy Docwra had failed to ensure the safety of both its own employees and non-employees on the site.

Another site operative who was directly next to Campbell was also at risk of being struck, according to the HSE.

At Southwark Crown Court, Daniel Walsh of Eastcote, Orpington, Kent pleaded not guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

This requires every employee to take “reasonable care” for their own health and safety, and that of others who may be affected by their acts or omissions at work.

Walsh was given a six month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £15,000.

Clancy Docwra, of Coppermill Lane, Harefield, Middlesex pleaded not guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The company was fined £1m and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £108,502.30.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Darren Alldis said: “This death was wholly preventable and serves as a reminder as to why it is so important for companies and individuals to take their responsibilities to protect others seriously and to take the simple actions necessary to eliminate and minimise risks.

“If the risks had been properly considered by the company, and simple and appropriate control measures were put in place, then the likelihood of such an incident occurring would have been significantly reduced.

“Informing all site operatives of the specific risks they face when carrying out such tasks and the control measures required of exclusion zones, the importance of communication and the mandatory use of excavator safety levers were simple actions that should have been put in place and their effectiveness monitored.”

According to accounts filed with Companies House, in the year to 31 March 2018 Clancy Docwra made a loss of £3.37m on turnover of £263.78m.

Following the accident in 2014, a vigil in Campbell’s memory was held outside the site in Stratford, which is close to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, according to a report in the Newham Recorder.

It was organised by the union-backed Construction Safety Campaign (CSC) to mark his death on 2 March 2014 and the fatality at a Crossrail site in Holborn, on 7 March 2014.

At the time, the CSC claimed that union health and safety officers were being denied access to construction sites, and contrasted this with the experience at the fatality-free Olympic Park project, where union reps had been in place.

CSC national spokesman Tony O’Brien said: “The building contractors have to allow union safety representatives on site. The deaths are a direct result of not having those safety reps there.”

At the time, Clancy Group declined to comment on site access for union representatives, the Newham Recorder said.

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