Last week at Kilkenny Circuit Court, Judge Cormac Quinn imposed a fine of €180,000 on JP Murphy Bros. Farm and Industrial Buildings for breaches of health and safety legislation. Judge Quinn directed that the fine imposed be used as a compensation payment for the injured party, which is an unprecedented outcome in a court case of this nature.
The company pleaded guilty to the following two offences under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005:
1) Section 8 (2) (a) of the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005 as it relates to Section 77 (9) (a).
2) Section 8(2) (e) of the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005 as it relates to Section 77(9) (a).
The prosecution arose after an incident which occurred on January 26th 2015 on a farm building re-roofing project at Boley, New Ross in Co. Wexford.
An employee of the company suffered personal injuries when he fell approximately six metres while working on the roof of an agricultural building. There were no fall protection or fall prevention measures in place at the time of the incident.
The company had pleaded guilty to two charges:
– that they failed to manage and conduct work activities in such a way as to ensure the safety of employees; and
– that they failed to provide systems of work that were planned, organised, performed and maintained.
Mark Cullen, Chief Inspector with the Health and Safety Authority, said:
“It is important that employers and contractors engaged in construction activities involving working at height ensure that there are appropriate safe systems of work in place to protect their employees against falls. Failure to do so, on this occasion, led to a very serious incident and severe consequences for the injured worker.”
Farmer prosecuted after worker killed fined €7,500
Following the death of a worker who was killed when the stem of a tree pierced the cab of the 360 degree excavator he was operating his employer, a farmer, was fined €7,500 recently at Nenagh District Court.
The court heard that the worker was clearing an area on the farm. The area was being cleared so that a roadway for farming and forestry could be constructed. The court heard that the worker was driving a 360 degree excavator, but that he held neither a CSCS card for driving an excavator nor a Safe Pass card. The court also heard that the farmer, who has a safety statement for the farm, had not carried out a risk assessment for the construction work and the use of the 360 degree excavator.
The farmer pleaded guilty to three charges:
· Failing to identify a hazard and to carry out a risk assessment, contrary to the SHWW Act 2005, section 19
· Failing to ensure the worker had a Safe Pass card, contrary to the Construction Regulations 2013, reg. 25(2)(a)
· Failing to ensure that the worker was in possession of a CSCS card for the operation of an excavator, contrary to the Construction Regulations 2013, regulation 25(1)(b).
The farmer was fined €2,500 on each charge, bringing the total fine to €7,500. (HSA v Michael Monagle, t/a Sharragh Pig Farm).