Trailer involved in death of young Offaly man had a ‘design fault’

By Gearoid Keegan

A young Co. Offaly man was killed in an accident involving a tractor-drawn trailer which had a design fault, an inquest has heard.

The inquest, held on Monday of this week, heard that the trailer involved in the tragic incident was manufactured by well-known company NC Engineeering of Co. Armagh.

Earlier this month, NC Engineering issued a warning to users of this type of trailer to exercise caution and to contact their local dealer – to seek safety advice.

Also Read: NC issues ‘warning’ to users of Power Tilt dump trailers

The incident which was the subject of Monday’s inquest happened in October, 2015. It tragically involved Adam Mangan, a 19-year-old student from Barnaboy who was prominent in GAA and rugby circles.

Adam Mangan was tragically killed in an accident involving a tractor-drawn trailer. Image source: Dan Sheridan, Inpho Photography

The inquest, which was held in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, heard that the young man was helping out on a farm owned by the Boland family at Derryarkin, Rhode. Thomas Boland (junior) was moving gravel with a tractor and a 14t NC ‘dump trailer’.

In the course of using the trailer, it had been tipped up but was not going back down. After he and Adam Mangan had taken a look, he returned to the cab of the tractor. He then heard a bang; he saw that the tailgate had come down on Adam Mangan’s head.

Boland screamed for help. His mother Maureen came down from the nearby farmhouse immediately; she saw that the young man had already died and whispered a prayer in his ear.

A consultant pathologist at Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore carried out a post mortem and concluded that death had been caused by catastrophic injuries to the head, resulting in extensive brain trauma. He said that death would have been instantaneous and no positive result could have been achieved by an attempt at resuscitation.

Accident investigation

John Hayes, an engineer engaged by the HSA (Health & Safety Authority) to investigate the accident, said that although the trailer was badly maintained there was a design fault with it and the incident had been replicated with a similar model in perfect condition.

He believed the problem with the tailgate occurred when a stone became jammed in the trailer mechanism. PJ Claffey, a manager with the HSA, said the authority had taken Hayes’ expert report and had been working with the trailer manufacturer.

Claffey urged farmers with NC 300 Series Power Tilt dump trailers dating from 2006 and before to contact their suppliers.

“We’re trying to get the word out there to the farming community that these trailers have this defect,” he said.

After a verdict of death from extensive head injuries in a farm accident was returned, Offaly County Coroner Brian Mahon said he hoped the evidence might save the lives of others working with similar machines.