On Friday 20th November, at Trim Circuit Court, Judge Martina Baxter imposed a fine of €80,000 on Axial Properties Ltd following a serious incident at one of their warehouses in Bracetown Business Park, Clonee, Dublin 15, which took place on March 3rd 2014.
The company pleaded guilty to two charges under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005:
- Section 15(3) of the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005 as it relates to Section 77 (9) (a) i.e. that they failed to ensure, so far as was practicable, that a place of work made available to a person other than their employee was safe and without risk to health.
- Section 19(5) of the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005 as it relates to Section 77(2) (a) i.e. that they failed to carry out a risk assessment in relation to the hazards of working on a fragile roof.
At the time of the incident, Axial Properties Ltd had a long-standing arrangement with a self-employed contractor to carry out maintenance activities at their premises. On the day of the incident, the contractor used a scaffold to access the roof of the warehouse but, while he was involved in maintenance activities, he fell through a roof light, falling approximately eight metres to the concrete floor beneath. There were no fall protection or fall prevention measures in place at the time of the incident and the man suffered life-altering personal injuries.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Authority concluded that all appropriate safety measures were not in place at the time of the incident.
In handing down the fine, Judge Baxter said that there was no recognition of the hazard or the seriousness of the hazard while working at height.
Mark Cullen, Chief Inspector with the Health and Safety Authority, said: “It is important that employers and contractors engaged in construction activities involving working at height ensure that there are appropriate safe systems of work in place to protect against falls. Failure to do so, in this case, led to a very serious incident and severe consequences for the injured worker.”