Irish Cement hit with €225,000 fine after breach of health and safety law

CRH subsidiary pleads guilty after worker hurt when lorry he was driving turned over

Irish Cement said the health, wellbeing and safety of staff and contractors is the firm’s top priority. Photograph: Laura Hutton

Irish Cement said the health, wellbeing and safety of staff and contractors is the firm’s top priority. Photograph: Laura Hutton

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CRH subsidiary Irish Cement must pay a €225,000 fine after pleading guilty to several breaches of health and safety law.

The Health and Safety Authority investigated an accident at Irish Cement, Platin Works, Drogheda, Co Louth, where a worker was injured when the lorry he was driving toppled over.

Arising from the investigation, Irish Cement pleaded guilty in Trim Circuit Court to several violations of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005.

Judge Martina Baxter fined the company €225,000 at a hearing on January 21st.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that its place of work and the access to it were safe and without risk to health, and to not assessing the risks in its place of work.

The accident that sparked the investigation happened on April 17th, 2018. The articulated lorry toppled when the driver was tipping a load in the petroleum coke fuel storage yard at the Platin factory.

Health and Safety Authority inspectors concluded that the company had not taken all appropriate safety measures at the time of the accident.

Serious incident

Mark Cullen, the authority’s chief inspector, noted that the company could have prevented the “unfortunate and serious” incident.

“Employers should ensure that safe access and egress is provided for plant and equipment being used in the workplace to protect employees and others from the hazard and risks arising from vehicles operating in the workplace,”he said.

“It is of the utmost importance that employers should, where risks have been identified, take the appropriate measures and put in place the control measures to eliminate or reduce the risks identified.”

Irish Cement acknowledged the judge’s ruling on the incident. “The company regrets that the incident happened and has taken measures to ensure it does not happen again,” noted a statement.

“The health, wellbeing and safety of staff and contractors is the top priority for Irish Cement.”

The company is part of Irish-based building materials giant CRH, which owns businesses across Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia.

CRH’s sustainability report for 2020 shows that two contractors and one employee died as a result of workplace accidents on its sites around the world during that year.

The group aims to have no fatalities by 2030. It had spent $260 million on health and safety in the five years to 2020, while 94 per cent of its sites were accident free.