Premier Periclase Ltd, sintermagnesia producers for for the steel industry, came before Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court on May 4th 2017 having pleaded guilty at a previous hearing in February to a breach of Ireland’s Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.
The case related to an incident on October 30th 2014 where an employee, Mr. Patrick Lambe, was fatally injured at Premier Periclases’ plant in Dundalk, Co. Louth. Mr. Lambe, a charge hand at the plant, had been part of a team of four men tending to a limestone blockage on a pre-heater on site. In clearing the blockage, a large block of limestone fell on Mr.Lambe, causing him to sustain fatal injuries.
Investigating the incident, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) found that certain health and safety procedures were not enforced on the day of the accident. The HSA found that Premier Periclase Ltd. had failed to provide a safe system of work in relation to the cleaning of limestone blockages which took place at a height and from a ladder, inside the pre-heater, where there was a strong risk of being struck by falling debris. Premier Periclase Ltd admitted liability in relation to the death of their employee and pleaded guilty to Section 8(2)(e) of the 2005 Act contrary to Section 77(9)(a). The company had pleaded guilty to one count of failing as an employer to ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of an employee.
After the fine was imposed, Assistant Chief Executive of the HSA, Brian Higgisson said: “All employers have a duty to provide safe systems of work and ensure measures are in place to prevent accidents. It is important that all safety procedures are initiated and followed, at all times, particularly where there is a risk of being struck by falling material.”