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The jury at a recent inquest ruled that health and safety failures, the incompetence of colleagues, and a failure to plan were all contributing factors to the death of a contractor while working at a Crawley school.


Daniel Yeowell, aged 26, died while working on a construction site at Langley Green Primary School in the West Sussex town. A team of workers from Hague Construction, which included Yeowell, had been hired to install drainage systems while work was being carried out to expand the school. However, Yeowell was hit on the head by the lid of a manhole cover while it was being lowered into place.


The coroner’s verdict stated that a number of failings at the site had led to the young man’s death, including no supervision at the time of the incident and using equipment deemed to be unsafe.


According to a Health and Safety Executive representative, Andrew Cousins, lifting work was potentially hazardous and should have been planned before carrying out the task. At the time of the incident, the correct equipment that should have been used was not on site. Yeowell was stood in a hole 1.5 metres deep, where a pipe was to be fitted, when the manhole cover fell and struck him on the head.


His family’s lawyer, Zahra Nanji, said that Yoewell’s death highlighted the requirement for the use of proper PPE, and adhering to health and safety regulations. Nanji added that even a failure that seemed insignificant at the time could lead to tragedy.

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