Crossrail chief says worker who died in tunnel construction 'shouldn’t have been where he was'

Chairman Terry Morgan says accident happened in an ‘excluded zone’

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The Independent Online

The chief of the Crossrail construction project in central London has said that the death of a worker in March happened because “the individual went into an area that was excluded”.

Speaking to London Live’s Alex Beard, the Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan said that bosses still do not know why the man went into the area, though they do know how he died.

The worker, identified after the incident by police as Rene Tkacik, a 43-year-old Slovakian national, was spraying concrete onto an area of excavated ground when another piece of concrete fell onto his head from the ceiling.

Police officers, three fire engines, over 50 firefighters and ambulance crews attended the scene of the accident on 7 March this year, but Mr Tkacik was pronounced dead at the scene.

He had been working 10 metres down a tunnel at the time, building a new crossover between two main train tunnels already constructed by the Crossrail boring machines.

Today, Mr Morgan said: “It is a very difficult working environment as you can imagine, this particular individual was on a work site doing a very careful job in terms of what we call spray concrete on the walls we were building.

“This individual went into an area that was excluded, shouldn’t have been in there and we’re still trying to understand why it happened.”

He said that all those working on Crossrail had been carefully briefed on safety and that bosses had had “an ambition that there should be no fatalities on this programme”.

“As far as we are concerned this should not have happened,” he said.

“So we obviously felt very disappointed that we had this fatality. We’ve taken some learning from it we’ve made some further changes. But it shouldn’t have happened.”

The Crossrail line will run from Maidenhead and Heathrow Airport in the west and Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east through central London. It is due to open in 2018.