Union urges investigators to release initial findings on fatal crane collapse

Union urges investigators to release initial findings on fatal crane collapse

Investigators must “end the delay” over publishing the initial findings into the causes of a fatal crane collapse in east London, a union has said.

June Harvey, 85, was killed and four others injured when a 20-metre crane collapsed on a site where flats were being constructed.

It crashed on to two adjacent terrace houses in Compton Close, Bow, on July 8.

The Unite union, which represents workers in the construction sector, said the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) should release its initial findings to ensure future similar incidents are prevented.

Earlier this month, Tower Hamlets Council said the Metropolitan Police and HSE were investigating the crane collapse and were in control of the crash site.

Crane collapse in Bow
The scene in Bow, east London, where the crane collapsed (PA)

The council warned that stabilising and removing the crane from the site could take four to six months, with it being “among the most complex operations of its kind to be undertaken in London for many years”.

Officials at Unite, whose members include employees at crane owner Wolffkran Ltd, argued that the local community “need to have the reassurance that the site and all involved with it are safe”.

The union’s national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “It is vital that the HSE ends the delay and publishes its initial findings into the reasons why a crane tragically collapsed in Bow in July.

“The HSE cannot be seen to be trying to sweep the investigation into this accident under the carpet. It is already nearly seven weeks since the accident occurred.”

Mr Swain suggested the HSE’s findings were “the only way” the industry could learn and ensure such an incident was prevented from happening again.

He added: “If the HSE cannot publish their initial findings for any reason then they must publicly say why and what is causing that delay.”

A spokeswoman for the HSE said it “extends its thoughts and sympathies to the family and friends of June Harvey and to all those affected by this tragic incident”.

She said the Metropolitan Police currently “retain primacy” for the investigation into the collapse, with support and assistance from HSE.

“HSE are providing civil engineering, geotechnical, mechanical engineering and lifting operations specialist input,” the spokeswoman added.

“HSE are also providing advice and support to the recovery teams to ensure the preservation of evidence.

“The recovery operation is extremely complex and may take some time.

“HSE recognises the interests of Unite and others, and want to provide reassurance that we are committed to supporting the investigation to identify any immediate and underlying causes contributing to the collapse.”

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