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Fine following employee drowning

06 December 2021

DEANE PUBLIC Works has been fined f €40,000 at Letterkenny Circuit Criminal Court following a fatal incident at the Hydro Race Bridge, Gweedore, Co. Donegal on 15 January 2018.

The company pleaded guilty to Section 8(2)(e) contrary to Section 77(9)(a) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, in that it failed to provide a system of work that was planned, organised, performed, maintained and revised to be, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to health for accessing, using or moving floating pontoons safely, resulting in the death of an employee.

The incident occurred when an employee of Deane Public Works Ltd was attempting to move a floating pontoon which was located under the bridge to prevent construction debris entering the water. As the pontoon was being moved the employee lost his footing, fell into the river and drowned.

Mark Cullen, assistant chief executive with the Health and Safety Authority said, “It is vital that all construction work is carefully assessed and planned in advance to ensure the safety and health of all employees, especially so where the workplace is adjacent to water. Working on or near water presents particular hazards that have to be carefully considered, failure to do so in this instance led to a tragic outcome that could have been prevented.”