Firm fined after death of employee at quarry

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A County Londonderry company was today fined £150,000 following the death of one of its employees at its premises in Magherafelt.

F.P. McCann Limited pleaded guilty to two breaches of health and safety legislation at Laganside Crown Court, after employee, Mr Victor Nicholl, was found fatally injured beside a dumper truck at its Knockloughrim Quarry premises. On 13 March 2015, Mr Nicholl was driving an Aveling Barford dumper truck and had been tasked with transferring material from the crushing and screening plant to a stockpile area located within the quarry.

The dumper truck was found stopped in the safety berm (edge protection) around the stockpile area. Both front wheels of the truck were lodged in the edge protection. Mr Nicholl was found on the ground close to one of the front wheels of the dumper truck and tragically had sustained a fatal head injury.

An examination of the Aveling Barford truck highlighted a number of faults including low brake efficiencies, no parking brake, no emergency steering and no working seatbelt. Edge protection in the stockpile area was also found to be below the recommended height of 1.5m, although it was sufficient to stop the truck on this occasion.

HSENI Principal Inspector Anne Boylan said: “The vehicle that Mr Nicholl was driving on the day of the incident had not been maintained in a safe condition and was not fit for use in a hazardous environment such as a quarry. Employers must ensure that work equipment including work vehicles, undergo regular planned maintenance. Failure to do so may result in unsafe vehicles, leading to potentially serious or even fatal accidents.

“Robust systems must be in place to check that maintenance schedules are adhered to and vehicles are in a safe condition at all times.”

HSENI, in the carrying out of its statutory duty, says it will continue to work with the Public Prosecution Service in the pursuance of successful criminal prosecutions of those who fail to ensure the safety of their employees or the public affected by their actions.

Further information on workplace transport can be found at https://www.hseni.gov.uk/topics/transport.