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€33,500 in fines for ag contractor & farm over fatal farm incident

An agricultural contractor has been fined €30,000 and a farmer has been fined a further €3,500 for breaches of health and safety legislation in a case that came before Ennis Circuit Court on Friday, July 28th, 2023.

The prosecution arose following an investigation into a fatal accident that occurred on January 22nd, 2021, on a dairy farm in Kilkee in the county.

The contractor was hired by the farmer to dig out an excavation and build a slatted tank.

A neighbouring farmer, not being an employee of the contractor, was assisting level a freshly poured concrete floor when an old pre-existing wall, that formed part of the excavation, collapsed on top of him.

He received fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fatal farm incident in Clare

The contractor pleaded guilty to the following offences under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and Construction Regulations 2013:

  • Section 12 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 as it relates to Section 77 (9) (a) in that the contractor failed to manage and conduct work activities in such a way as to ensure the safety of individuals at the place of work, not being his employees.
  • Regulation 51 (1) (a) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013 (SI 291 of 2013) as it relates to Section 77 (9) (a) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005, the contractor did fail to ensure that adequate precautions were taken in an excavation to guard against dangers to persons from a fall or dislodgement of earth, rock or other material by means of suitable shoring or otherwise.

In the same case, Judge Francis Comerford also fined the farmer €3,500 for breaches of health and safety legislation.

The farmer pleaded guilty to the following offences under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations, 2013: Regulation 6 (1) (b) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations, 2013 contrary to Section 77 (2) (c) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 in that he failed to appoint in writing a competent project supervisor for the construction stage for construction work on his farm.

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