A storage company has been issued a €200,000 by a Dublin court after one of its employees died in a work accident in one of their warehouses.
The tragic accident happened on the 28th November 2015 at a Dublin warehouse owned by VF Coldstores Ltd. The victim, Robert Ceremuga – then aged thirty-two – was killed when a scaffold that was supporting over thirty six tonnes of food products collapsed on top of him. A report conducted after the incident concluded that the collapse was the result of an errant forklift that collided with the structure. An additional investigation uncovered that the employee operating the vehicle had been working at the factory for just three weeks and lacked the approbate license to operate the machine.
VH Coldstores Ltd was subsequently prosecuted by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) prosecuted VF Coldstores Ltd for serious breaches of health and safety laws. At a hearing conducted earlier this year in the Circuit Criminal Court, Dublin, a representative for the storage company plead guilty to the charges. Maria – Robert’s widow – also gave a victim impact statement during the same hearing. After this, Judge Melanie Greally adjourned the session so that could take a “scientific approach” to calculating the fine.
Judge Greally reconvened the hearing earlier this month She the proceeded to fine VF Coldstores Ltd €200,000 for breaching health and safety laws. After the announcement of the fine, Brian Higgisson – the Assistant Chief Executive of the HSA – commented 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.”