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Poor engineering, bad drainage may have resulted in collapse of wall – engineer


Poor engineering and bad drainage may have resulted in the collapse of a wall that killed a 24-year-old man earlier this week.

Kelvin “X” Richards, a labourer of Montaque, Mesopotamia, was killed last Tuesday when a retaining wall fell on him at around 10:20 a.m.

“Information received indicates that a retaining wall fell on Richards, while he and another labourer, Alvin John, of the same address, were digging a trench to build a wall to reinforce an existing wall that barricades a private property in Evesham,” the police report said.

Dr Sin Adams, the district medical officer, responded to the scene and pronounced Richards dead at 11:06 a.m.

An engineer who scrutinized photos and videos taken at the scene of the accident explained that to begin with, it appears that the wall had no weep holes. A weep hole, or a weep-brick, is a small opening that allows water to drain from within an assembly.

He added that the house above the wall does not have a spouting system, so that means when it rains, the water is thrown over the sides of the house and that water may have been seeping into the wall’s foundation, weakening it over time.

“The wall does not look as if it had proper reinforcement and somewhere water was getting into the foundation,” said the experienced engineer, who added that without weep holes, that means that pressure was building up.

He added also that the men were digging below the wall and pieces of steel

or bamboo could have been used to support the wall while the reinforcement process was being conducted.

“It could be that they were digging it and it didn’t have a proper foundation and it fell over on him. From looking at it, it could have been a number of factors that caused that wall to fall over,” said the engineer.

In relation to the way Richards was dressed at the time of his death, the engineer said that as it relates to Occupational Health and Safety, he should have been wearing steel toed shoes, a hard hat and proper clothing. He, however, noted from the look of the accident, none of these things would have been able to save Richards, as the wall seems quite heavy and it fell on his upper body, probably crushing him to death.

A resident of the area said that after the wall fell on Richards, John ran for help and persons responded, but were unable to lift the heavy wall off the injured man.

“When I reach he still had a pulse,” said an Evesham resident, under condition of anonymity. “We tried to lift the wall. In my mind he died suffering,” said the man, who added that he thinks that the water coming off the roof played a part in causing the wall to collapse.

Family members of Richards told SEARCHLIGHT on Thursday that they would comment on the issue after they get the results of Richard’s autopsy.

One of Richard’s aunts said that the deceased had his way, but he was a nice person whom you could ask to do anything for you.

She added that this is a tragedy for the family, as they have buried two close relatives in the recent past and this is a big blow for Richards’s mother.

Police say further investigations into the circumstances surrounding this incident are expected to be carried out.

The men were employed by subcontractor Adolph Williams, who was contracted by Coreas Hazells Limited to repair the wall under the company’s Home Solutions initiative.