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Company Pleads Guilty to Breaching Health and Safety Regulations

Posted: May 11th, 2016

A Dublin-based food storage company has plead guilty to HSA charges of breaching health and safety laws that lead to the death of an employee.

The victim of the accident, Robert Ceremuga, was just thirty-two years old when he was killed in a work accident on the 28th November 2015. Whilst working in a warehouse owned by his employers, VF Coldstores Ltd, a rack that was supporting over thirty-six tonnes of foodstuff gave way, causing the products to fall onto Robert and kill him instantly. A report followed that determined the rack broke because of an accidental collision with a forklift, which was being operated by an employee that had been working with the firm for just three weeks. It was later uncovered that the person operating the vehicle lacked the adequate license to drive a forklift.

VF Coldstores Ltd were then prosecuted by the Health and Safety Authority, who alleged that the company had breached health and safety laws. Last month, at the Circuit Criminal Court, a representative for the firm plead guilty to all charges. The court, overseen by Judge Melanie Greally, also heard a victim impact statement read by Maria, Robert’s widow. After this statement the hearing was adjourned by Judge Greally such that a “scientific” approach could be used when calculating compensation.

The hearing was reconvened by Judge Greally earlier this month, during which VF Coldstores Ltd were fined €200,000 for breaching the health and safety regulations. In an interview with the press after the announcement of the fine,  Brian Higgisson, the Assistant Chief Executive of the HSA, said that “It is important that employers adequately manage and conduct work activities, in particular carrying out risk assessments before any major works, such as alterations to racking. These assessments should ensure that everyone has the necessary training, knowledge and experience to complete the work in a safe manner.”

Categories: Work Accident

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