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March 3, 2021

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Whiskey distillers fined following employee fatality

An employee suffered fatal injuries when a forklift involved in the staging process came into contact with him.

Irish Distillers Ltd has been fined €40,000 after pleading guilty to breaches of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work General Application Regulations 2007.

The case arose following a fatal accident on 12 March 2018, when an employee was staging whiskey casks at Dungourney warehouses complex, Co. Cork. He suffered fatal injuries when a forklift involved in the staging process came into contact with him.

Irish Distillers Ltd. pleaded guilty to S19(1) contrary to S77(2)(a) of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, in that it failed to identify, so far as was reasonably practicable, a hazard in the said place of work, specifically the staging of whiskey casks by forklift operations outside the warehouse, assess the risks presented by the said hazard and be in possession of a written assessment of the risks.

The company also pleaded guilty to Regulation 41 (a) of the Safety, Health and Welfare (General Application) Regulations 2007 contrary to S77 (2)(c) of the Safety, Health and Welfare Act, in that it failed to ensure that appropriate traffic management systems were drawn up and followed when work equipment, namely a forklift, was moving around a work area.

Speaking after the company was sentenced, Chief Inspector with the Health and Safety Authority Mark Cullen said: “The circumstances of this tragic incident should be a warning to all employers to make sure that they manage and conduct their work activities to ensure the safety of their employees. In particular, as can be seen in this case, it is important that safe systems of work are in place to ensure that persons carrying out the work can do so in a safe manner.”

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