Consultant Fined Over Deadly Accident

There has been a major break from established procedures over allocating blame after industrial accidents.

A health and safety consultant working indirectly for the firm concerned has been fined over a deadly breach of health and safety law. This is the first such development in NI and saw Steven Jones, trading as Hazron Safety Services, and engaged to carry out risk assessments on equipment involved in the fatal crushing of a worker made to pay.

An employee of Miskelly Brothers Ltd, Norman McCord, was killed by a block-strapping machine in 2009 at a block-making yard in Ballygowan.

The firm and Mr Jones both pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches.

Miskelly Brothers Ltd was fined £50,000 and Mr Jones was fined £4,000 following a hearing at Downpatrick Crown Court on Tuesday 10th May.

The case arose out of an incident on 7th September 2009 at Miskelly Brothers Ltd block making yard at Moss Road, Ballygowan, when an employee of the company was fatally crushed when making adjustments to a block-strapping machine.
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Nancy Henry, an Inspector with the Health & Safety Agency (NI) (HSENI) Major Investigation Team said: "This was a tragic and preventable incident which happened because adjustments that were being made to the machine were poorly planned.

"The importance of carrying out meaningful risk assessments, which encompass all the activities carried out on a piece of machinery, has yet again been highlighted.

"This case sends out a clear message to all employers who use health and safety consultants to ensure that they are competent and accredited to undertake the work required.

"This is the first time in Northern Ireland that a health and safety consultant has been convicted for a breach of health and safety legislation.

"HSENI wants to send out a strong message that it will not hesitate to pursue through the courts any consultant who fails in his or her duty of care," she said.

Help Online

The HSENI has also announced a new online directory to help businesses find an accredited health and safety consultant was launched in March 2011.

To date more than 2,400 accredited consultants across the UK have signed up to the online Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register.

See: www.oshcr.org


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