a subsidiary of Vinci in court after the death of a temporary worker

This is the trial of a tragedy that occurred on a construction site of the Grand Paris Express which was held on April 5, 2023 before the correctional court of Créteil, after having been returned twice. On February 28, 2020, on the southern extension of line 14, the project management of which is delegated to the RATP, in Villejuif, Maxime Wagner was the victim of a serious accident. In a coma, the 37-year-old man died a few weeks later, on the night of March 19 to 20, 2020. At the very beginning of the first confinement.

Maxime Wagner was a temporary worker for Dodin Campenon Bernard, a subsidiary of the group vinci. The company and two of its employees, the chief of attack and the works managerappeared during this trial for manslaughter.

Several shortcomings pointed out

The accident took place in a tunnel boring machine. The victim was performing an operation “unsealing”, in order to unclog a pipe. Flexible at this point, this one operated under pressure a “whiplash”violently hitting the worker on the head and causing severe head trauma.

According to the labor inspector questioned during the hearing, “there was no device to hold the pipe in place”, at the time of the accident. An investigation carried out by the labor inspectorate shortly after the tragedy also revealed several shortcomings. The companions must indeed not intervene near flexible pipes, the risks being known, the said pipe should have been attached which did not seem to be the case, and a lack of training was pointed out.

The security instructions were therefore not clear enough, according to the prosecution, which engages the responsibility of the defendants. “He was not aware of this risk, otherwise he would not have taken it”believes Me Christophe Bringer, the lawyer for the mother and sisters of the deceased, adding that there was a “vague” on the precautionary zone to be observed around the pipeline.

“Criminally, we have nothing to reproach ourselves for”

The legal director of Dodin Campenon Bernard assured the bar that the company “feels involved in the accident”, and compensated the victim’s family. But he defends himself: “criminally, we have nothing to reproach ourselves with”.

“Deep down, we believe we have done everything we could and should do in terms of prevention, he added. There are basic precautionary measures, such as keeping a distance, that have not been taken. “In the end, we explain to employees that it is up to them to understand where they should put themselves”for his part regretted the prosecutor.

Fine and prison conditional sentence required

The Créteil public prosecutor’s office requested a fine of 250,000 euros against the company and a nine-month suspended prison sentence against the head of the attack, responsible for the personnel on a tunnel boring machine, and against the director of works. The deliberation will be delivered on June 29, 2023.

As a reminder, three other people died on Grand Paris Express construction sites, and more specifically on lot 1 of line 16, between Saint-Denis Pleyel and Le Bourget. Serious or even fatal accidents which raise questions about “cascading subcontracting, the massive use of temporary workers” and “the pace imposed to meet deadlines”points in particular to the CGT93, but also on co-activity on construction sites, despite the measures put in place by the Société du Grand Paris, main contracting authority on the Grand Paris Express, and the companies and checks carried out.

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