A master painter was tragically killed when he fell from a scaffold tower while painting the outside of a house, an inquest has heard.
John Kelly (66) from St Fintan’s Villas in Deansgrange, Co Dublin died instantly when he fell 30 feet to the ground from a ladder placed on top of a 4.35 metre high scaffold tower on May 15 last year.
Dublin Coroner’s Court heard the scaffold tower, which had not been safely secured, suddenly toppled over as Mr Kelly and his colleague were working on its top platform.
Mr Kelly, described in court as a master painter known for his high standard of workmanship and who had worked on the ceiling of the Pro-Cathedral as well as the restoration of the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, was painting the exterior of a house in Blackrock when the incident happened.
He was working alongside his long-time colleague Colin Dunne who told the inquest they were painting the side of the house and using a mobile scaffold, which Mr Kelly had borrowed, to get to the higher parts. They had placed a ladder on the top platform of the scaffold tower and Mr Kelly had gone up to paint the soffit of the house when the incident happened.
“I was at the bottom of the ladder holding it. I felt the scaffold move and jumped clear. The scaffold fell back. I went around to the base of where the scaffold was, which was now half way toppled over into a hedge, and I saw that John was lying on the ground. I knew that he was dead,” he said.
Mr Kelly was pronounced dead at the scene. At post-mortem the cause of death was given as severe head injuries.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).
Mr Kelly was a self-employed painter who had been working in the trade since the 60s.
HSA inspector David O’Connell said the scaffold was more than 2.7 metres high and should have had “outriggers” attached to support it.
It was not tied “in any way” and there were no guardrails or toeboards in place, he said.
Three caster wheels of the tower were locked but one was not. It is possible this caster was unlocked when the tower toppled over, he said.
Mr O’Connell told the court that neither Mr Kelly nor Mr Dunne had a construction ticket for erecting scaffolding.
Sgt Ivan Howlin said Mr Kelly is believed to have borrowed the scaffold tower from a friend but it has not been possible to establish who this was. He confirmed there are no suspicious circumstances in the death.
The jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure.