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Safety Breaches Lead To €650,000 Fine In Rathcoole Quarry Fatality Case

Christopher Miley (31), who was contracted to refuel vehicles for Shannon Valley Plant Hire at Behan Quarry in Rathcoole, was knocked down by a digger in wet and dark conditions.

A plant hire and construction company has been fined €650,000 in relation to the death of a young worker who died when he was knocked down at their quarry site.

Christopher Miley (31), who was contracted to refuel vehicles for Shannon Valley Plant Hire at Behan Quarry in Rathcoole, was knocked down by a digger in wet and dark conditions.

According to the Health and Safety Authority, the company failed to ensure that there was adequate lighting in place for working outside daylight hours during the refuelling process.

In a ruling at Dublin Circuit Court on Tuesday, March 19th, Shannon Valley Plant Hire Limited and L. Behan Aggregates & Recycling Limited faced fines totaling €650,000 before Judge Martin Nolan following the tragic incident that occurred in October 2021.

The incident, which transpired on October 28th, 2021, involved a fatal injury to the employee of an oil company while refueling machinery for Shannon Valley Plant Hire Ltd at a quarry operated by L. Behan Aggregates & Recycling Limited.

An investigation revealed a series of safety failures leading up to the incident.

Shannon Valley Plant Hire Ltd was found to have neglected to ensure adequate safety measures, including sufficient lighting for work outside daylight hours during refueling, proper segregation of people and machinery, and failure to switch off equipment.

Similarly, L. Behan Aggregates & Recycling Ltd, as the quarry operator, was cited for its failure to implement suitable instructions and operating procedures for the safe use of equipment, specifically during refueling activities outside of daylight hours.

Mark Cullen, Assistant Chief Executive with the Health and Safety Authority, emphasised the importance of employers conducting risk assessments to identify and implement appropriate control measures to safeguard workers and others impacted by work activities.

He underscored that failure to enact such measures can lead to tragic consequences, as seen in this case.

Shannon Valley Plant Hire Limited admitted guilt to breaching Section 15(3) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005, while another charge under Section 15(3) was considered during sentencing. L. Behan Aggregates & Recycling Limited pleaded guilty to violating Regulation 14(a) of the Safety Health & Welfare at Work (Quarries) Regulations 2008, with additional charges taken into account.

As a result of the court's ruling, Shannon Valley Plant Hire Limited was fined a total of €600,000, plus associated costs, while L. Behan Aggregates & Recycling Limited incurred a fine totaling €50,000, also with associated costs.

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