London

Crossrail man's limited English a factor in his death, inquest finds

Rene Tkacik Image copyright leigh day
Image caption Rene Tkacik, of Hackney Road, east London, was a "hugely experienced" worker, the inquest heard

A Crossrail construction worker's limited English skills were a contributing factor in his death, an inquest jury has ruled.

Rene Tkacik, a 44-year-old Slovakian national, was crushed to death by poured concrete in Holborn, central London, on 7 March 2014.

The jury ruled his death had accidental contributory factors including him not being able to understand all briefings.

The exclusion zone definition was also unclear as it sometimes changed.

St Pancras Coroner's Court heard Mr Tkacik was found within an exclusion zone where wet concrete was being poured, which had not been clearly marked at the time of his death.

The jury had learned that Mr Tkacik, of Hackney Road, east London, was a "hugely experienced" worker.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Crossrail is due to open in 2018 and will have more than 60 miles (97km) of track

He had been working in the UK to earn money to send home to his family in Slovakia so he could pay for his daughter Esther to go to university.

The jury was shown a digital reconstruction of the 80ft (24m) deep tunnel in Fisher Street, Holborn, where Mr Tkacik died.

The tunnel was so deep it took an emergency team six minutes to reach him from ground level, the court heard.

'Would not see him again'

His wife Renata Tkacikova, said: "Rene was a loving husband and father - we miss him very much.

"I have struggled without him. I do not feel that I have come to terms with my loss and I do not understand how this incident could have happened.

"Rene had gone over to London to work and we had never contemplated that we would not see him again."

In a statement, Crossrail said: "Safety has always been, and continues to be, the number one value for Crossrail and is critical to the delivery of the project.

"Crossrail has a good safety record and sets the most stringent contractor safety requirements in the industry. There is nothing so important on Crossrail that it cannot be done safely."

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