Clinical Negligence & Catastrophic Injury Solicitors
Tragic, accidental death of five men in wall collapse.
Five men were accidentally crushed to death after the "foreseeable risk" of a wall collapse in the area they were working was not identified, an inquest jury has concluded.
The 11-strong panel found the risk was not identified before the accident and it "caused or contributed to" the deaths of the workers, who were all from Senegal and Gambia.
The men died when an 11.8ft (3.6m) concrete partition collapsed on to them Hawkeswood Metal Recycling, Birmingham, on July 7 2016.
Reacting to the verdicts of accidental death, the men's families said they would continue to look for justice following the "very violent deaths."
A spokesman for the families, Lang Dampha, urged immediate steps to be taken to ensure "we learn the lessons of why our loved ones died" to prevent a repeat of any similar incidents.
A two-week inquest at the city's coroner's court into the circumstances of the men's deaths heard from a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigator that the site could have "most definitely" identified the risk of fall as the wall was overloaded and unsafe.
Labourers Almamo Jammeh, 45; Ousman Diaby, 39; Bangally Dukureh, 55; Saibo Sillah, 42, and Mahamadou Jagana, 49, were clearing out a scrap metal storage bay when they were killed at the plant in the Nechells.
Delivering the panel's conclusions, the jury foreman said: "On July 7 2016 at a metal recycling plant, the deceased were cleaning out a bay when a free-standing gravity wall overturned due to gross over-loading. The deceased suffered multiple injuries and died at the scene.”
The jury also found the risk of collapse was foreseeable, was not "actually identified" and caused or contributed to each of the deaths. Accidental death verdicts were recorded for each of the men.
The jury heard that part of a stored pile of 263 tons of metal ingots had fallen, along with the wall itself, on to the group when the partition gave way.
During his evidence, HSE investigator Paul Cooper was asked by area coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, Emma Brown, if the risk of the wall falling could have been spotted.
He replied "most definitely" and that it would have been "common sense" to have identified that risk.
The jurors were directed by the coroner to record verdicts of accidental death.
She also asked them to determine whether there was a foreseeable risk of collapse.
CCTV had showed a shift in the wall's angle seconds before the structure came down.
All the victims suffered devastating blunt force injuries and had to be identified by their fingerprints, the inquest heard.
Managing director of Shredmet Ltd, which runs the yard, Wayne Hawkeswood, said in a statement “I cannot comprehend how this happened. I am absolutely devastated by the deaths of the five men and constantly think about the loss their family and friends have suffered."
Addressing the families, after the verdicts, Emma Brown said: "I want to convey my deepest condolences to you on the loss of your loved ones, who were clearly very hard-working, diligent and responsible family men."