Nine months suspended jail sentence for misuse of work vehicle

May 30, 2023

[Ireland] A Co. Wicklow construction worker has been handed a nine-month suspended jail sentence after he pleaded guilty to Regulation 29(1)(f) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013, following an incident on 8 December 2016 when he failed to make proper use of a large nine tonne site dumper.

The construction worker had driven the dumper whilst carrying two passengers. The dumper was not designed to carry passengers, and, in so doing, he also failed to take reasonable care to protect the safety, health and welfare of other persons who may be affected by his actions. One of the passengers fell from the moving dumper, causing life changing injures.

There were two other parties associated with the incident previously before the courts – the Main Site contractor and Project Supervisor for the Construction Stage (PSCS) and the Site manager/Site Engineer on the project.

In 2021 in Bray Circuit Court the Main Site Contractor having pleaded to Regulation 19(1)(b) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Construction Regulations 2013 had a fine of €15,000 imposed on them for failing to implement their duties as PSCS.

In May 2022 in Bray Circuit Court, the Site Manager/Site Engineer for the project, having also pleaded guilty to Regulation16(b) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013, had an 18 month suspended jail sentence imposed on him in relation to his failure to implement his duties.

Mark Cullen, Interim CEO, Health and Safety Authority said “The movement of large work vehicles is a well-known hazard that duty holders must carry out a risk assessment for in order to identify the necessary control measures to eliminate or reduce the risks to a reasonably practicable level.

“Operators of site vehicles should also have the suitable training including the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) which provides the knowledge and skills needed for occupations within the construction sector.

“In this case, the failure by the parties involved to identify the appropriate control measures and implement them significantly increased the likelihood of an incident occurring, an incident which was entirely foreseeable and preventable.”

This is valid as of 30th May 2023.

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