HSE investigates falling block at Bouygues job and gas explosion on Laing O’Rourke subsidiary’s site

It was a black week for the construction industry as two workers lost their lives in separate incidents on UK sites.

An agency worker was killed on Bouygues’ Broomfield hospital site in Chelmsford on Monday. The accident occurred after a freak gust of wind sent a crane spinning out of control.

Eyewitnesses said a large block of masonry, which was being winched to the top of a building, fell from the crane, killing a man below. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have now handed the investigation over to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Meanwhile work on a Laing O’Rourke site in Hertfordshire has been halted indefinitely after a gas explosion killed one worker and injured six.

An Argonite gas cylinder on the site in Welwyn Garden City ruptured and exploded shortly after it was delivered on the afternoon of 5 November, killing Adam Johnston, 38.

Johnston, an advanced plumber and gas service engineer, was employed by Crown House Technologies Data Solutions, a subsidiary of Laing O’Rourke, which was working on the construction of a data centre.

Two men were seriously injured and four others were treated and discharged. One of the seriously injured men has been released, but Laing O’Rourke said the other remained in hospital in a critical but stable condition.

The exterior of the building remained intact, but the explosion caused widespread damage to the interior. Ten fire crews were required to extinguish the blaze.

Liam Cummins, Crown House’s, managing director said: “Adam was a popular member of the team. This tragic accident has been felt intensely by everyone who knew him and by our business as a whole.”

Laing O’Rourke said work had halted, but would restart when the HSE concluded its investigation.