Sunday 15 December 2019

Boss faces trial over accident that left employee in coma

Gregory Smith, with an address, at Rockfield Road, Kells, Co. Meath who is being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) after an employee sustained serious injuries in a work-place accident, in Newcastle, Co. Dublin, on 4 September 2013.Pic: Collins Courts
Gregory Smith, with an address, at Rockfield Road, Kells, Co. Meath who is being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) after an employee sustained serious injuries in a work-place accident, in Newcastle, Co. Dublin, on 4 September 2013.Pic: Collins Courts

Tom Tuite

A CLEANING contractor is facing trial over a work-place accident where an employee was seriously injured and put in a coma for three days after an elevated work platform collapsed.

Gregory Smith, with an address, at Rockfield Road, Kells, Co Meath, is being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) following an accident, in Newcastle, Co Dublin, on September 4 last year.

He faces a single charge under section 8.2(e) of the Safety and Health and Welfare at Work Act, prosecution counsel Antonia Boyle told Judge John O'Neill at Dublin District Court.

In an outline of the evidence for the purpose of deciding jurisdiction, HSA inspector John Cloney told Judge O'Neill it was alleged that a "man-basket", a mobile working platform, carrying an employee, slid off a teleporter's forks and fell to the ground.

The worker then fell out and sustained serious injuries; he suffered perforated bowels, went into cardiac arrest due to excessive bleeding and was in a coma for three days.

The teleporter had been brought on to the site three days previously and was used to provide access to high areas for cleaning.

Mr Cloney said that it was alleged that on the day of the accident Mr Smith was finding it hard to see one of his employees up in the man-basket due to the angle of the sun and water from a pressure spray.

The safety inspector alleged that Mr Smith had taken it on himself to manoeuvre the teleporter and the basket then fell off. He also told Judge O'Neill that Mr Smith had never driven a site teleporter before.

A warning sign on the side of the machine also stated that there should have been chains attached to the teleporter to prevent the man-basket falling off but there were none, the HSA officer also said.

It was the type of work that should have been carried out using a mobile elevated platform, also known as a cherrypicker, Mr Cloney said. Judge O'Neill accepted jurisdiction in the district court and was adjourned to December when Mr Smith will state how he intends to plead.

Irish Independent

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