O’Rourke worker killed by dumper driven by his brother

Grant Prior 8 years ago

An inquest has heard how a Laing O’Rourke worker at Heathrow was crushed to death by a dumper truck driven by his brother.

The jury at West London Coroner’s Court recorded a verdict of accidental death after hearing all the details of the tragedy in October 2014.

Pipe-layer Philip Griffiths died while working on a £77m car park job near the airport’s Terminal 2 in the early hours.

A report in getwestlondon said his brother Robert Paul Griffiths was reversing a dumper truck when Philip became trapped between the vehicle and a scissor lift.

Robert said he had tried to apply the brakes but his foot became trapped under the brake pedal.

The brothers had been attempting to tow the broken-down scissor lift machine which was blocking a service road.

Philip Griffiths, 38, was pronounced dead at the scene, with a post-mortem later giving the cause of death as a crush injury to the chest.

Ieuan Evans, who worked as a machine operator for O’Rourke subsidiary Select Plant Hire told the court how after initial attempts at towing failed he had left the scene, understanding that an engineer was being called to fix the equipment.

He said he thought Philip and Robert were following him but when he realised they weren’t he assumed they were “giving it another go”.

He added: “They wouldn’t give up until the job was done. That’s the kind of boys they were.”

Robert said his brother made a couple of attempts to shift the scissor lift before he took over.

He told the court he was not aware of anyone telling them to stop.

He said his brother had shortened the “strop”, connecting the vehicles, in a bid to aid their efforts and he had been reversing slowly when the collision happened.

Subsequent police inspections identified a number of faults with the scissor lift but no “contributory” defects to either vehicle which may have led to the collision.

Police concluded it was a “tragic collision”, and no criminal charges were made.

Philip’s father Robert John Griffiths described his son in a statement read out in court as a “happy-go-lucky” man who would “do anything for anybody”.

“He was hard-working and always reliable, and he was a bit of a charmer. People have told me they’ve never met a nicer guy than Philip,” he added.

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