London

Worker dies in Crossrail tunnel after being hit by concrete

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Media captionThe Health and Safety Executive has been informed

A construction worker on the Crossrail project died after a piece of concrete fell on to his head.

The 43-year-old was spraying concrete 32ft (10m) down in a tunnel in Holborn, central London, when he was killed in the early hours.

Work at the site is suspended as an inquiry takes place and the Health and Safety Executive has been informed.

The £15bn line is due to run from Maidenhead in the west, to Shenfield in the east via central London.

Full investigation

London Fire Brigade said it sent crews at about 05:40 GMT to help rescue the workman.

Ambulance crews also attended, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Image caption The Health and Safety Executive and police have been informed
Image copyright PA
Image caption The rail route is due to open in 2018 and will have more than 60 miles (97km) of track

A Crossrail spokesman said: "Sadly, at approximately 5am this morning a contractor working at our site in Fisher Street, London was fatally injured.

"Our first and foremost thoughts are with the family and friends affected by this.

"We are establishing the facts and a full investigation into the incident has commenced.

"Safety is our number one priority and Crossrail sets the most stringent safety requirements in the industry.

"Despite this terrible incident, Crossrail's accident rate is below the industry average."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Crossrail is Europe's largest infrastructure project

Crossrail is Europe's largest infrastructure project and involves more than 60 miles (97km) of track, including 13 miles of new twin-bore rail tunnels, and nine new stations.

Tom Fitzpatrick, news editor at Construction News, described the death as "sad and surprising", but added that work undertaken in the tunnels was extremely complex, with workers "digging into the unknown".

"It is a real blow to the project. It is very much the biggest engineering project in Europe at the moment and it is trying to set a benchmark for the industry," he said.

"Crossrail has taken some of the team across from the Olympic site, which was the first Olympics project not to have any fatalities, and they were taken with the hope that they would take across that record."

He added that one worker had been injured during an electrical explosion at one of the sites in 2012, but the project had never had a fatality before.

The rail route is due to open in 2018.

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