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January 25, 2010

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Worker killed in four-metre mine fall

A mining company has been fined €100,000 over the death of a worker inside a lead and zinc mine in Ireland.

Michael Joyce, 44, sustained fatal head injuries after falling from a gantry platform at Galmoy Mines, in Kilkenny, on 16 February 2007. He had been sent to inspect a crusher machine, which had become blocked.

Mr Joyce was surveying the crusher from a manway gantry platform, which was positioned above the machine, and was leaning on the top guardrail when it suddenly gave way. He fell four metres on to the concrete floor beneath the crusher, and died at the scene.

Galmoy Mines Ltd appeared at Kilkenny Circuit Criminal Court, sitting in Carlow, on 20 January and pleaded guilty to two breaches of s.8(2)(c)(i) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, for failing to ensure the gantry was safe.

Commenting after the case, Health and Safety Authority chief executive, Martin O’Halloran, said: “There were 43 workplace deaths reported last year, eight of which were as a result of falls from a height. These accidents are avoidable and, where the correct precautions are in place, the dangers can be eliminated.

“I would urge all employers to constantly review any work activity that takes place at a height and ensure that all workers are aware of the dangers and that the proper safety precautions are in place.”


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