Company fined €180,000 after employee fell 6m from farm building

A farm building company was fined €180,000 for breaches in health and safety legislation following an incident where an employee fell 6m from a farm building during a re-roofing project, according to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).

At Kilkenny Circuit Court today, Thursday, July 9, Judge Cormac Quinn imposed the fine on JP Murphy Bros. Farm and Industrial Buildings for breaches of legislation.

Judge Quinn directed that the fine imposed be used as a compensation payment for the injured party, which is an unprecedented outcome in a court case of this nature, the authority noted.

The company pleaded guilty to the following two offences under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005:
  • Section 8 (2) (a) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 as it relates to Section 77 (9) (a); and
  • Section 8(2) (e) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 as it relates to Section 77(9) (a).

The prosecution arose after an incident which occurred on January 26, 2015, on a farm building re-roofing project at Boley, New Ross, in Co. Wexford.

An employee of the company suffered personal injuries when he fell approximately 6m while working on the roof of an agricultural building.

There were no fall protection or fall prevention measures in place at the time of the incident.

The company had pleaded guilty to two charges:
  • That it failed to manage and conduct work activities in such a way as to ensure the safety of employees; and
  • That it failed to provide systems of work that were planned, organised, performed and maintained.

Mark Cullen, chief inspector with the HSA, said:

“It is important that employers and contractors engaged in construction activities involving working at height to ensure that there are appropriate safe systems of work in place to protect their employees against falls.

“Failure to do so, on this occasion, led to a very serious incident and severe consequences for the injured worker,” Cullen concluded.