Foreman cleared in work-death case
A BUILDING site foreman was yesterday cleared of breaches in health and safety legislation on a construction site where a worker lost his life.
Owen Curran (67), of Bunbeg, Co Donegal, walked free from Letterkenny Circuit Court yesterday after a jury unanimously returned a 'not guilty' verdict in respect of three charges under the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005.
Mr Curran was foreman on a construction site on the outskirts of Milford, Co Donegal, in January 2007, when 57-year-old Frank Callaghan, of Shannagh, Fanad, Co Donegal, was killed.
Mr Callaghan was working with a digger-driver moving and stacking large concrete manhole covers when the bucket of the digger came loose and fell on top of him.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Health and Safety Authority and the State contended that, as the site foreman, Mr Curran had not taken reasonable care to protect the safety, health and welfare of his employee, and had instructed him in an unsafe system of work, which placed his life at risk.
But Peter Nolan, for the defence, argued that the only reason Mr Callaghan had been struck by the bucket was because the digger-driver had not secured it with a safety pin.
Judge Rory McCabe instructed the jury that they had to ask whether the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused man had placed the health, safety and welfare of Mr Callaghan at risk by instructing him in an unsafe system of work.
It took the jury a little over an hour to return a verdict of not guilty in respect of all of the charges. There was no comment available from the Callaghan family last night.