A verdict of misadventure was returned by a jury today at an inquest into the death of a 28-year-old man who was killed instantly in June 2015 while operating a stone crusher in a quarry at Aghamore, Ballyhaunis.
The tragic death of Joseph Harrington, Sonnagh, Charlestown was the subject of an investigation by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) which prepared a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on the matter.
As a result, a successful prosecution was taken in relation to breaches of health and safety legislation.
Mayo based firm Harrington Concrete and Quarries – no relation of the deceased - was recently fined a total of €500,000 at Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court for breaches of health and safety in relation to the industrial accident on June 11, 2015.
At the inquest in Castlebar today into Mr. Harrington’s death, evidence was given that he sustained fatal injuries when he fell from a height while working on the main crusher in the quarry.
HSA Inspector Padraic McMahon told today’s hearing there was no witness to accident.
He said there was a company safety statement at the time of the tragedy. However he said there was no written procedure in place to deal with blockages or working at heights.
Mr McMahon added he is satisfied in relation to safety measures put in place by the company since the accident.
Company founder and manager Frank Harrington was one of the witnesses who gave evidence at today’s inquest which was conducted by the Coroner for Mayo, Patrick O’Connor.
He explained that Joseph Harrington was employed In July 2014 as a general operative. His role was to operate the crusher and screening plant.
Mr. Harrington said that while the company does have the service of a Health and Safety Officer, that person was not on the site on the morning of the accident.
He said there had been no issues with the plant which Mr. Harrington operated in recent years,
However, he continued, approximately ten years ago some issues were raised with the general guards surrounding the plant but this was resolved at the time.
Responding to a question from the coroner as to what steps had been taken to improve health and safety issues at the quarry, Mr. Harrington said that a full-time health and safety officer is now in place and health and safety checks are carried out on a frequent basis.
The jury returned a verdict of misadventure.