Construction companies fined for health and safety failures following death of worker

Date published: 09 December 2021

The Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) has successfully led a prosecution against a Castlederg based contractor, CKMR Contracts Limited, following an incident that led to the death of one of its employees. Principal contractor, Northstone (NI) Limited, Belfast, and contractor Paul Braham and Sons Limited, Warrenpoint, were also prosecuted for related offences.

Prosecution

All three companies previously pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing at Newry Crown Court. CKMR Contracts Limited, Northstone (NI) Limited and Paul Braham & Sons Limited were today (9 December 2021) fined £30,000, £50,000 and £10,000 respectively.

The prosecution followed an investigation by HSENI into the circumstances of an incident that resulted in 38 year old, Ronan Mulroy suffering fatal injuries during a construction project at Church Street, Warrenpoint on 30 September 2016. The project involved the replacement of street lighting columns.

Speaking after the hearing, HSENI Inspector Linda Murphy said: “This tragic death serves as an important reminder to the construction industry that every construction project requires careful planning and management.

“Contractors, (including principal contractors), have a responsibility to communicate with each other to make sure everyone understand the risks and the measures needed to control those risks.”

The incident resulted in Mr Mulroy being struck by a lifting attachment that became detached from the quick hitch of an excavator, owned and operated by CKMR Contracts Limited. Steps were not taken by the operator of the excavator to ensure the quick hitch was fully engaged.

The appointment of CKMR Contracts Limited followed late confirmation from another contractor that they were no longer able to complete the work as originally planned.

The investigation also found that a thorough examination of the quick hitch and lifting accessory had not been completed; the operator of the excavator had not received training in relation to the use of excavators for lifting operations; and the risk assessment relied on by CKMR Contracts Limited was not suitable and sufficient.

The duties of contractors and others are considered in detail within the HSE publication entitled ‘Managing health and safety in construction’ (L153). Information relating to the health and safety arrangements for any project must be contained within an up to date construction phase plan which is the basis for communicating the arrangements to everyone involved.

Notes to editors: 

1. Breaches and fines for CKMR Contracts Ltd are as follows:
a. Article 4(1) by virtue of Article 4(2)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) 1978; fine £15,000
b. Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000; fine £15,000

2. Breaches and fines for Northstone (NI) Ltd are as follows:
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016 Regulation 13(1); fine £50,000

3. Breaches and fines for Paul Braham & Sons Ltd are as follows:
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016 Regulation 15(2); fine £10,000

4. For media enquiries please contact: HSENI Press Office on 028 9024 3249 or email media@hseni.gov.uk. For out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.

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