Fuel company and safety consultant fined for death of worker

Date published: 15 October 2015

At Laganside Crown Court today, Hayes Fuels, and independent safety consultant Stanley Gibson, were fined a total of £54,000, plus costs of £1,500 against Hayes Fuels, for health and safety failings which led to the death of 49 year old employee Robert Mark McCarroll.

The case arose from a Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) investigation into an incident at a Belfast premises operated by Hayes Fuels in March 2013.

Mr McCarroll was working in a warehouse where pre-packed fuel products stored on pallets were stacked on top of each other.

The method of stacking used by Hayes Fuels resulted in some of the pallet stacks becoming unstable, and on the day of the incident the system of work involved Mr McCarroll working at the base of these pallets.

Tragically, one of the pallet stacks fell over, resulting in the product falling on to Mr McCarroll who died two days later from his injuries.

Stanley Gibson, a health and safety consultant engaged to assist Hayes Fuels, had carried out a risk assessment of the area and had identified that there might be an issue with the storage system. However, he failed to complete the assessment and identify the control measures required to prevent material falling from height.

Speaking after today’s sentencing Kevin Campbell and inspector with HSENI’s Major Investigation Team said:

“This preventable accident caused the needless death of Robert McCarroll and today our thoughts are with his family.

“It is essential that businesses ensure that material is stored properly, and that proper systems are put in place to safely access stored material.

“Businesses and consultants must systematically identify all significant risks and develop appropriate control measures. Tragically, in this case, information that was available was not acted upon.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The details of the defendants sentenced today are as follows: 

    Hayes Fuels, 146 Pomeroy Rd, Dungannon, Co Tyrone.

    Stanley Gibson, Stanley Gibson Partnership, Green House, 191 Albertbridge Road, Belfast, BT5 4PU

  2. The health and safety breaches were as follows:

    Article 4 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work (NI) Order 1978 

    Regulations 10(4) of Work at Height Regulations (NI) 2005 
    (For each defendant)

  3. The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body, sponsored by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.
  4. HSENI is the lead body responsible for the promotion and enforcement of health and safety at work standards in Northern Ireland.

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