A North Wexford company were fined €175,000 at a sitting of Wexford Circuit Court, before Judge Martin Nolan, following an investigation into a fatal accident that occurred on April 1st, 2016. Faser Court Limited pleaded guilty to a charge under Regulation 54(2) Safety, Health & Welfare at Work (Quarries) Regulations 2008 Contrary to Section 77(2)(c) Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005.
The case arose following an investigation by the Health and Safety Authority into an incident that occurred on April 1st, 2016 that resulted in an employee, Mr Peter Byrne, sustaining fatal injuries. Mr Byrne was employed as a machine operator by Faser Court Limited (also known as Casey’s Quarry and Casey Concrete) at Coolishall Quarry, Gorey, Co. Wexford.
On April 1st, 2016, a quarry face blast was carried out at Coolishall quarry. The blasted face was checked and given the ‘all clear’ by the explosive supervisor prior to the commencement of digging out the blasted rock. The incident occurred approximately 20 minutes after the blast. Mr Byrne was operating an excavator and was loading a dumper when the quarry face above him suddenly collapsed burying the excavator he was operating. Another operator received minor injuries while Mr Byrne received fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. The quarry face was approximately 62 meters in height.
Mark Cullen, Assistant Chief Executive with the Health and Safety Authority said that this tragic incident arose from not ensuring that all the necessary assessments were carried out on the quarry face in advance of the works proceeding and there was no Geotechnical Assessment carried out prior to work commencing.
This case is a stark reminder to quarry operators of the necessity to have all the necessary surveys and pre-planning done prior to commencing work on any quarry face.