April 24 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
The health and safety executive have insisted that progress is being made in its investigation into the deaths of four men in an industrial accident.
Daniel Hazelton, 30, Thomas Hazelton, 26, Peter Johnson, 41, and Adam Taylor, 28, died on January 21, 2011 on an engineering site in Great Yarmouth.
The men, from Stanton and Rickinghall in Suffolk, were killed while working on Claxton Engineering’s site on North River Road when a steel structure collapsed.
The four men were working four feet underground when they were crushed by the structure.
At a pre-inquest hearing in Norwich today, a representative for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said it was still considering whether to make any prosecutions in the case but that “progress had been made”.
A report has now been handed to the Norfolk Coroner, Jacqueline Lake, according to Ruth Barber, solicitor for HSE.
But Ms Barber said she was reluctant to discuss the contents of the report at the hearing.
“Developments have been made and progress in relation to witnesses but we would not want to prejudice anything by discussing it in open court,” she said.
At a previous pre-inquest hearing at Carrow Road stadium in November, Ms Lake had said she was eager for any inquest not to influence prosecutions, with the potential for witnesses to incriminate themselves in evidence.
However, she said the inquest had already been delayed and that a hearing may have to go ahead regardless.
The HSE were also criticised by solicitors at the hearing for dragging their feet.
A solicitor for the executive said the agency was dealing with “voluminous” amounts of information in relation to the case.
Another pre-inquest hearing will be held on January 21 at the coroner’s court.
Ms Lake said February 10 had been earmarked as the date for a full inquest, expected to take five days.