€500,000 fine after fatal accident at Mayo quarry

Castlebar Court House. Photo: Google images

Castlebar Court House. Photo: Google images

On Wednesday at Castlebar Circuit Court, Judge Rory McCabe imposed a fine of €500,000 on Harrington Concrete and Quarries ULC for three separate breaches of health and safety legislation.

The company had earlier pleaded guilty to three offences under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, namely: (1 ) Section 8(2 )(c )(iii ) and Section 77(9 )(a ), failure to ensure safe plant and machinery, particularly no sufficient edge protection/barrier to the crusher and the area around it, resulting in the death of Mr Joseph Harrington; (2 ) Section 8(2 )(e ) and Section 77(2 )(a ), failure to ensure a safe system of work was in place for the unblocking of the crusher; and (3 ) Section 20(2 ), failure to ensure the safety statement contained safe operating procedures and instructions for the operation of the crusher.

The prosecution arose after a fatal accident that occurred on June 11 2015 at Carrowscoilta Quarry, Ballyhaunis. An employee of the company, Joseph Harrington, was fatally injured when he fell into an inadequately guarded stone crusher at the quarry operated by Harrington Concrete (no relation ) and Quarries ULC.

The company pleaded guilty to three charges, in that they failed to adequately guard the crusher, that they failed to ensure there were safe systems in place to unblock the crusher and that they failed to ensure the safety statement was in accordance with the legislation.

Mark Cullen, assistant chief executive of the Health and Safety Authority, said: "It is vital that employers ensure that they provide safe plant and machinery and that there are appropriate safe systems of work in place designed to protect their employees. Furthermore, such measures should be specified in the company safety statement. The failures that contributed to this incident are clear and the consequences for Mr Harrington and his family were tragic."

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