NFDC offers to assist Didcot tragedy investigation

By Leila Steed24 February 2023

The National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC) in the United Kingdom has renewed its offer to help the investigation into the 2016 tragedy at Didcot A Power Plant in Oxfordshire, which resulted in the death of four demolition workers.

Part of a collapsed building is illuminated by the emergency services as they work at the decommissioned Didcot A power station in central England It took recovery teams several months to retrieve the victims’ bodies from the tangled and dangerous wreckage of the boiler house collapse. (PHOTO: Reuters/Peter Nicholls)

Marking the seventh anniversary of the incident, the NFDC said it had reached out to senior officials at the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) - the government body responsible for health and safety at work - in “the hope of expediting a conclusion”.

Ken Cresswell, John Shaw, Chris Huxtable and Michael Collings died on February 23, 2016, when part of the boiler house at the Didcot A Power Station collapsed during preparatory works for its demolition.

A further five site operatives were injured in the building collapse at the plant, which had been closed in 2013 for decommissioning.

Despite having previously provided the police and HSE investigators with assistance “whenever called upon”, the NFDC, the demolition industry and - most importantly, the victims’ families are still waiting to find out exactly what happened.

Thames Valley Police and the HSE are still investigating the incident, with a view to filing criminal charges for manslaughter and safety violations. To date, no causes or reasons for the collapse have been published or announced by either agency. 

Passing on the organisation’s “deepest condolences to the families” of the four victims, Howard Button, the NFDC’s CEO, said: “Our main concern at this time is closure for the families of the four men we tragically lost from the industry, and for learnings to be published so we can avoid any more incidents like this happening in the future - for the safety of everyone in demolition.”

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