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Security guard ‘left to fend for himself’ on sub-zero construction site

Two security companies have been fined after a security guard died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Javaid Iqbal, 29, was working for London firm KK Security Services on a construction site in Leigh, Wigan. Veritas Security (Southern), of Southampton, subcontracted out the job to KK Security, though Veritas’s contract specified it could not subcontract the work.

In the early hours of 6 December 2014, the sub-zero temperatures caused the site’s electricity generator to fail. Iqbal could not restart the generator and in an effort to keep warm he lit barbecue coals in a wheelbarrow, which he placed in a 6 m steel container used as the site office.

Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard that Iqbal called KK Security and Veritas Security for assistance but neither company helped him. He died from carbon monoxide poisoning and his body was found by police a few hours later. 

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) investigation found that KK Security Services did not have a management system in place to protect the welfare of its lone workers. It said that the only option available to Iqbal in an emergency was to call his employer who was hundreds of miles away and unable to offer any practical assistance.

KK Security Services pleaded guilty to breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety and Work and was fined £8,000 plus £4,854 costs. Veritas Security pleaded guilty to breaching s 3(1) of the Act and was fined £8,000 with £6,220 costs. 

HSE inspector Neil Jamieson said after the hearing: “Mr Iqbal should have been required to ring and speak to his company every hour or have some form of panic button. His calls were not being monitored. Instead of this he was simply required to text in every hour stating that all was well. 

“This tragic death could have been so easily avoided had either KK Securities or Veritas Security made adequate arrangement to regularly check on Mr Iqbal’s welfare during the quiet hours. Instead, it appears, he was left to fend for himself.”

 

Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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