Trial to go ahead over death machine

Four men and the company they worked for are to be tried in the Circuit Court next month in relation to the death of an employee in March 2006.

John Knight from Scotland died on the premises of Technical Engineering and Tooling Services, Forest Green, Mullingar when the machine he was operating suffered a catastrophic malfunction.

Four men - John Hunt, Tommy Kelly, Eugene Sheil, and Ciaran Carroll - were sent forward from the District Court in Mullingar yesterday (February 5 ) to face trial at the next sitting of the Circuit Court in Tullamore on February 17.

Along with their company, the men are to face five technical charges under the Safety and Welfare at Work Act such as failing in their duty to manage and/or conduct work activities, in part the operation of a Hurco machine, and failing to ensure it worked properly.

The other charges are: failure to provide adequate information on said machine; lack of maintenance on the safety interlocking guard; failure to provide systems of work, planned, organised and performed, maintained and revised as appropriate for safety at work; failure to provide information, instruction and supervision for said machine; no risk assessment or control measures developed on the use of homemade extended bars.

A member of Mr Hunt’s family was in court yesterday after travelling over from Scotland.

Inspector Kevin Broderick from the Health and Safety Authority was also in attendance but did not give evidence.

Because of the seriousness of the charges, two of the defendants - Mr Sheil and Mr Carroll - were granted legal aid to the tune of a junior and senior counsel each for the trial.


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