Thursday 23 November 2017

Family criticises company fine after construction worker's death

Aoife Nic Ardghail

THE family of a construction worker crushed to death on a building site yesterday criticised the fine imposed on his employer for health and safety breaches as "very, very small".

Jarlath O'Reilly (38) had been operating a 7.5 tonne roller machine near an excavation site in Ballyfermot, Dublin, in March 2007 when it hit a manhole, accelerated forward and fell sideways into the trench on top of the deceased.

His employer, trading as Thornton Recycling with an address at Henry Road, Park West Business Park in Dublin, was fined €34,719 in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

However, Jerome O'Reilly, a brother of the deceased, said the fine was too lenient.

"It's very, very small for a company of that size," he said. "It's hard to put a price on life but we feel what was done today does not do anything to ensure that health and safety rules are adhered to."

Tom Murphy, a Health and Safety Authority (HSA) inspector, revealed that there had been no barrier surrounding the trench when the machine fell in.

Company director Paul Thornton pleaded guilty on the company's behalf to failing to ensure appropriate barriers were provided. The company also pleaded guilty to failing to notify the HSA before digging.

Irish Independent

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