A CLEAN-UP to prepare for a visit by Everton FC’s players led to a tragic accident at a building site, an inquest heard.
Karl Davis was working on the construction of the club’s new training ground Finch Farm, in Finch Lane, Halewood, in February, 2007.
The Bootle inquest heard the 42-year-old, of Wallasey, who was employed as a site labourer, had attached a rubbish chute to a section of scaffolding so he could dispose of building waste from the first floor of the building.
But when the guard rail gave way, Mr Davis fell and landed head-first on the ground below.
He was taken to Whiston hospital with serious head and neck injuries, and died three months later – just six days after his 43rd birthday.
Sefton coroner Christopher Sumner heard how, on the day of the accident, the Finch Farm site was being made ready for a planned visit by Everton’s players.
Engineer Simon Coldrick told the inquest jury it was not known why the guard rail collapsed, but it was due to a “sequence of failures.”
He said: “A guard rail is not an appropriate fixing for a rubbish chute which is going to have some extra loading put into it.”
Darren Palmer, a labourer at the site, said he and Mr Davis had assembled the chute and fixed it in position. He said Mr Davis “seemed to know what he was doing”.
The inquest heard the chute was attached the wrong way around so the rubbish would land in a skip placed beneath it.
Under questioning by Mr Sumner, site foreman Nicholas Backhouse said no extra pressure was put on employees because of the Everton team’s visit to their new training academy.
He said: “The site was in good order – this was just a final tidying up.”
Kevin Airey, site manager for the main contractor, Kier North West, said the two-storey building was nearly complete at the time of Mr Davis’s fall.
He said he was unaware the rubbish chute was put up and Mr Davis had no qualifications in scaffolding.
Project manager John Woodward said Mr Davis’s role on the site was more than his title suggested.
He said he was a key assistant to the management team.
Mr Woodward said: “He was what a traditional site labourer should be. He took control of the site and was trusted to do so.”
The inquest was attended by Mr Davis’s widow, Dot, 53.
The inquest continues.