Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Construction Worker Killed in Liverpool City Centre

It had only been a matter of time before Liverpool City Centre saw a construction worker die on the job. Yesterday, the inevitable happened, and a 120 foot crane collapsed, killing one man and seriously injuring another at Duke Terrace, near Seel Street.

£3 billion worth of developments are due to be completed in the twelve months leading up to the city’s Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008. While some of the jobs have needed doing for many years, much of it is taken up with the building of new shopping centres and luxury penthouse flats. Meanwhile, working class areas within easy walking distance have been starved of funding for redevelopment, and compulsory purchase orders have been served, tearing-apart long-standing communities.

Before the crane collapsed, the Duke Terrace site would have been much like many others around the city centre. About seventy builders employed by David McLean – many of them Polish – had been on the site, working on the luxury ‘Elysian Fields’ development. The complex, which will stand where the Community College used to be, will consist of 104 one and two bedroom flats and duplex penthouses. Completion is expected by the middle of this year, leaving plenty of time for the wealthy newcomers to get their feet under the table before 2008.

The Liverpool Echo website has quoted an unnamed workman as suggesting that high winds had caused the crash. However, there had been many windier days than yesterday during the last couple of weeks, and these massive cranes – which dominate the Liverpool skyline – should surely be able to withstand any weather conditions short of the apocalypse.

Two Health and Safety Executive inspectors were called to the scene, and they are to conduct a joint investigation with Merseyside Police. However, this comes far too late for the deceased man.

Corners are very likely being cut to get all the Liverpool construction jobs done before next January. Just ten days ago, Morgan Utilities Ltd were fined for a safety violation on the corner of Church Street and Whitechapel. Regular inspections of all building sites is the very least that should be demanded by construction workers in particular and the Merseyside public in general.
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