Wednesday 13 December 2017

Company fined €4,000 after supervisor injured


HILTON Foods has been convicted and fined in relation to health and safety breaches after supervisor Darren O'Reilly fell over two metres onto the warehouse floor while he was trying to fix a fault on a piece of machinery.

A Health and Safety Authority inspector said when he visited the Termonfeckin Road plant six weeks after the accident on June 8, 2011, the conditions had not changed.

Inspector Terry Hallahan told the HSA's barrister that he felt 'a repetition of the accident was possible.'

The inspector said he ' was surprised to say the least that the same conditions were in place' when he made his second visit on July 22 2011.

Hilton Foods was charged with failing to provide a safe system of checking for a fault from the interlocked conveyor system and failing to improve access from a gantry area to the interlocked conveyor system. A third charge was struck out.

During lengthy evidence, Judge Flann Brennan was told that on June 8 2011, work started as usual at 7.30 a.m.

The conveyor belt stopped working and supervisor Darren O'Reilly climbed up to try and locate and fix the fault.

He was standing on one of the conveyor belts – which were not enclosed by protective railings or mesh – trying to remove a label which appeared to be obstructing a sensor when he fell down onto the floor.

Two of his fellow workers who heard the fall came to his assistance and he was rushed to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital where he spent a number of days being treated for a number of injuries.

These included pain radiating from his neck into his back and down into the back of his left leg, groin injuries and also injuries to his left knee and back injuries.

After being released from hospital he attended his GP, who reported that Mr. O'Reilly had shooting pains, found it hard to sleep and walked with a limp for a time.

By January 2012, he had made a complete recovery, the court was told.

Under cross-examination from Hilton Foods barrister, the HSA inspector confirmed that the company had a good safety record.

Judge Brennan convicted and fined the company €2,000 on each of the two counts, costs of €2,847 were awarded and also expenses of €723.66 to the HSA.

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