AN inquest heard how a construction worker told his partner he loved her just hours before he fell 30 feet to his death.
Father-of-two Andy Parkinson, 38, of Tidswell Street, Heckmondwike, died after falling at one of Europe’s largest sewage works in November 2008.
The jury inquest at Leeds Coroner’s Court was told he was working at Yorkshire Water’s Knostrop works in Knowsthorpe Road in Leeds when the accident happened.
He was employed by Rhodes Engineering, of Heckmondwike, and the firm was sub-contracted by Laing O’Rourke to work on the site as part of a £40m refurbishment.
Workers were helping to construct metal walkways above and around sewage tanks.
Written evidence from Mr Parkinson’s partner of 10 years, Sally Pelling, which was read out at the inquest, said: “I spoke to him on his break about a bargain I had seen for the girls for Christmas. We said ‘I love you’ and we said we’d see each other later.”
She said his death had had a “devastating effect” on her and the couple’s two young daughters.
The jury was told that just a short time later, Mr Parkinson, who was wearing a safety harness, was seen falling onto a concrete surface and was pronounced dead as soon as paramedics arrived.
The inquest was told Mr Parkinson, who had worked for Rhodes Engineering for 15 years, had breached health and safety rules three days before his death.
He was seen stepping onto a cherrypicker crane which was against the rules and Laing O’Rourke’s project manager, Richard Calvert, sent an email to his bosses as a warning against future breaches.
John Mercer, a general foreman who was supervising the area where Mr Parkinson died, said he had warned him about health and safety regulations when he saw him on site the day before the accident.
He said: “I was walking up the stairs to the existing walkway and I was checking all the gangs. Andy was there and I spoke to him.
“I saw Andy’s lanyard on the floor. I asked, ‘are you clipped on Andy?’ I said ‘you know the rules, clip on’. He said ‘sorry mate’ and clipped on to the handrail.”
Written evidence from welder Michael Padgett, who was working on the site with Mr Parkinson and their colleague Chris Williams, said he told Mr Parkinson to clip on to the handrail just before he fell.
“I didn’t see Andy fall but I just saw Chris’s face and he said ‘he’s fallen’,” he said.
Mr Parkinson’s mother, Patricia, who also gave evidence at the inquest, said that although her son had problems with money, he had a happy outlook on life.
The hearing continues.