Data centre fatality

We have received news of an aerial work platform entrapment / crushing incident at an electrical substation construction site in London to supply the new Microsoft data centre in Park RoyaL, Ealing.

We understand that the incident involved a boom lift and occurred somewhere around the middle of last week, the man then died in hospital on Friday. It has been extremely difficult to obtain any details of the incident. Although this morning a spokesman for the UK Health & Safety Executive did confirm some of the details saying: “We are aware of this incident and are investigating alongside the Metropolitan Police.”

Update:- comment added
A Microsoft spokesperson said: "We are deeply saddened by an incident at our construction site in Park Royal, Ealing in which a contractor subsequently lost their life. Our thoughts are with their family, friends, and colleagues at this difficult time. An incident investigation is currently underway, and support being offered to those affected. The health and safety of anyone working on Microsoft sites is a core priority and we are committed to ensuring the highest standards are met in the delivery of our projects."

Vertikal Comment

Trying to uncover any information on this incident has been more than a challenge. It is a sad indictment of our industry that those involved feel obliged to keep all of the details secret. When we will learn from the aviation industry that safety benefits from a climate of openness.
Generally speaking, investigations into incidents such as this should not take more than a day – in many cases a few hours. It is quite rare that any new details come to light after 36 to 48 hours.

Most of the secrecy is due to a dance between the developer/client, contractor, the individual involved, and site managers to apportion blame. At the same time the HSE seeks to gather information, that it can use to the almost inevitable prosecution. In the meantime, valuable information that might help save others, or simply remind them of the risks and dangers is not disseminated.

Industry associations need to tackle this issue as a matter of urgency.


emailed comment
'Secrecy is the Enemy of Safety’

Feb 27, 2024