Traffic manager operating stop/go sign sues after bus runs over his foot

Complainant claims Dublin Bus driver went too fast through roadworks

It is claimed that Mr O’Donoghue suffered a significant crush injury to his foot and spent ten days in hospital. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien/The Irish Times

A traffic management worker’s foot was run over by a bus while he was operating a stop/go sign at roadworks, the High Court has heard.

Damien O’Donoghue, Shanbally, Cappoquin, Co Waterford, sued his employer Total Highway Maintenance Ltd (THM) and Dublin Bus over the accident on the Kilmore Road in Coolock, Dublin, on November 15th, 2015.

He claims THM was, among other things, negligent and in breach of duty by failing to ensure the place of work was safe and without risk in compliance with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.

He claims the Dublin Bus driver drove too fast, failed to keep a proper lookout and drove carelessly or dangerously.


The defendants deny the claims. THM say the accident was caused by the bus travelling too fast while going through roadworks. Dublin Bus argued there was also contributory negligence on the part of Mr O’Donoghue.

It is claimed that Mr O’Donoghue suffered a significant crush injury to his foot and spent ten days in hospital. He was in a cast until January 4th, 2016.

The court heard Mr Donoghue had worked as a general operative and had three days training in traffic management before beginning working as a controller at the Kilmore Road roadworks.

His job that day was operating a swivel stop/go sign mounted on a traffic cone as he stood right next to a large concrete motorway dividing bollard.

As the bus was going through on the “go” sign, it struck the cone and then ran over his right foot. He was wearing steel capped footwear which was flattened, it was claimed.

Gerard O’Herlihy, solicitor for Dublin Bus, said the accident happened because the available space for Mr O’Donoghue was narrower than what it should have been and a trap was set for both the road worker and the bus driver.

Mr O’Donoghue was actually sitting on the concrete barrier when the accident happened and, Mr O’Herlihy said, he was not sure that was a safe thing to do when he could have climbed over the barrier to operate the stop/go sign. All three parties contributed to this accident, he said.

Michael Counihan SC, for Mr O’Donoghue said his client’s employer did not criticise him in any way about how he had carried out his job that day.

There may at best have been inadvertence on Mr O’Donoghue’s part but it was not contributory negligence, he said. There was no evidence that he was doing anything other than following his employer’s instructions, he said.

Philip Sheahan SC, for THM, said there was one cause for this accident and that was the bus was coming through the traffic management system at speed which was not appropriate for the circumstances he faced.

Mr O’Donoghue was working in accordance with a traffic management plan which had operated successfully for weeks before this accident, he said.

Mr Justice Micheál P O’Higgins reserved his judgment.