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Saturday 17 March 2018

University worker killed in freak “cherry picker” accident

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

TRIBUTES were paid to a veteran Irish university worker who was killed in a freak accident with a ‘cherry picker’ site machine.

University College Cork (UCC) estates department worker, Frank McGrath (58), died after he sustained severe head injuries in the accident at construction works on the campus on College Road.

The accident occurred shortly before 5pm (Tuesday).

UCC paid tribute to Mr McGrath, who lived in Cork city, as “a most respected member of the Estates & Buildings Department.

“Frank McGrath joined UCC in 1986 and was immensely popular among all staff. He was elected on two occasions to membership of the Governing Body where he shared his wisdom, pragmatism and above all his loyalty to, and pride in UCC,” a college spokesperson told the Herald.

“UCC is deeply saddened by the accident and wishes to extend its sincere sympathy to his family and colleagues.”

The college also vowed to assist the various probes now ongoing into the tragic accident.

It appears Mr McGrath was working at the UCC grounds near the construction site and was somehow struck in the head by the ‘cherry picker,’ a machine used to provide height access for construction workers.

He suffered critical injuries and died at the scene despite efforts by paramedics to stabilise him for transfer to the nearby Cork University Hospital (CUH).

He was pronounced dead by a local GP.

The area was immediately sealed off as shocked UCC staff and students looked on.

The body was transferred to CUH where a full post mortem examination will be carried out by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster later today (Wednesday).

Investigations will now be carried out by Gardai on behalf of the Cork Coroner’s Office and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).

The HSA probe is in accordance with protocols for all fatal workplace accidents.

Gardai described the incident as “a freak tragedy” with all construction work at the site now suspended while the separate investigations are ongoing.

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