Claxton Engineering: Death site documents 'incomplete'

(clockwise from top left) Daniel Hazelton, Adam Taylor, Thomas Hazelton, Peter Johnson Image copyright Contributed
Image caption Daniel Hazelton, Adam Taylor, Thomas Hazelton and Peter Johnson (clockwise from top left) were all killed

The site manager at a construction project where four men died has told an inquest documentation was not properly filled out.

Daniel Hazelton, 30, his brother Thomas Hazelton, 26, Adam Taylor, 28, and Peter Johnson, 42, were killed at Great Yarmouth on 21 January 2011.

They were crushed under 13 tonnes of steel when a structure collapsed.

Sean Freeman, who was in charge of the building work, said forms were not correctly completed.

He worked for Encompass Project Management, which was in charge of the building work at Claxton Engineering in North River Road.

'No-one qualified'

He said two directors of Encompass, Paul Brand and David Groucott, had discussed paperwork concerning the project.

Mr Freeman said Mr Brand had said one of the forms, concerning a construction design management co-ordinator, could not be completed as the company had no-one qualified for that duty.

Mr Freeman said he took the document to display at the site and didn't notice the omission.

The Hazelton brothers and Mr Johnson were from Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, and Mr Taylor was from nearby Rickinghall.

Image caption Claxton carries out engineering projects for the offshore industry at North River Road

All worked for Hazegood Construction, the ground works and steel works contractors, and had been building a test facility at the site.

The inquest, at Sprowston Manor Hotel, near Norwich, had heard the men had been seen not wearing hard hats.

Procurement manager Mark Aylen told the hearing he had asked the men about this and that they had claimed the hats had a tendency to fall off.

'Not deep enough'

Matt Hazelton, brother to two of the men and a friend of the others, is a director of Hazegood Construction.

He told the inquest that the dead men were all good, skilled, experienced workers.

He said he had been involved in writing the "method statement", detailing how the work would be carried out.

Questioned about the collapse of the sides of the excavation, he said it was not deep enough for there to be a danger of it collapsing and hurting anyone.

David Groucott, a director of Encompass, declined to answer some questions about site safety, documentation and build procedures.

But asked if he had called Matt Hazelton, telling him the build was going "really well", he said: "Yes."

He said the structure looked like it was being properly put up, and that he had "no concern or inkling" it might collapse.

Mr Groucott said he not only worked but socialised with the dead men, and that he would never have allowed them to get involved if he didn't think the site was safe.

The inquest is scheduled to end on Friday.

  • This story was amended on 19 February to clarify evidence around the use of safety equipment.

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