Contractor John Laing Services is to be prosecuted at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, eight years after two construction workers were killed on one of its sites in central London.
Supervisor Roy Anderson and platform erector Anthony Fear fell 9 m after a cradle they were working on tipped up. They incident took place at an apartment block on the Embankment in May 1995.

John Laing Services has been charged with breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) Section 2, which covers employers' negligence.

A Health and Safety Executive spokesperson said John Laing Services had been charged because it was in overall charge of the site. She said: "The men had been working for subcontractor EPL but John Laing was responsible for the operation of the machinery." EPL has not been charged.

A coroner's court verdict on the deaths of the two men, which took place in 1995, prompted coroner Sir Montague Levine to call for a shake-up in safety standards for sites using cradles and scaffold towers. He returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

The HSE spokesperson said the case had taken eight years to reach court because of a police investigation into the accident. The police had thought of charging Laing with unlawful killing, but handed the case back to the HSE in 2001 after deciding not to.

The men worked for EPL but John Laing was responsible for operation of the machinery

Health and Safety Executive official

Anderson suffered a ruptured heart artery and had a collapsed lung and fractured ribs. Fear fractured his skull, leg and arm as well as suffering brain damage, a ruptured liver and spleen.

Laing plc was unavailable for comment.

  • Demolition firm Lock Brothers has been fined £5000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in compensation to Robert Pettigrove after he sustained severe head injuries in a fall on a site on Willowbrook Road in south-east London.

    The Old Bailey heard that an HSE investigation found that Pettigrove fell 20 ft from the edge of a floor slab. Pettigrove, 42, has been unable to work since.