Man killed instantly by stone crusher in Co Mayo quarry, inquest told

Misadventure verdict returned in case of Joseph Harrington (28), who died in June 2015

A misadventure verdict was returned at an inquest into the death of a man who was killed instantly while operating a stone crusher in a quarry in Co Mayo.

A misadventure verdict was returned at an inquest into the death of a man who was killed instantly while operating a stone crusher in a quarry in Co Mayo.

 

A misadventure verdict was returned at an inquest into the death of a man who was killed instantly while operating a stone crusher in a quarry in Co Mayo.

The death of Joseph Harrington (28), of Sonnagh, Charlestown, at the quarry in Aghamore, Ballyhaunis, on June 11th, 2015 was the subject of an investigation by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), which prepared a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on the matter.

A successful prosecution was subsequently taken in relation to breaches of health and safety legislation and Mayo based firm Harrington Concrete and Quarries was recently fined €500,000 at Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court for health and safety breaches in relation to the accident.

The inquest in Castlebar heard that Mr Harrington was fatally injured when he fell from a height while working on the quarry’s main crusher.

Dr Tamas Nemeth, consultant pathologist at Mayo University Hospital, gave the cause of death as multiple head and vertebral injuries due to a fall.

No witness

HSA inspector Padraic McMahon said there was no witness to the incident that led to Mr Harrington’s death. He said there was a company safety statement at the time of the accident.

However, Mr McMahon said the statement it failed to cover all the requirements imposed under Regulation 8 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Quarries) Regulations 2008.

“Working at height is only referred to when maintenance is being carried out on the jaws of the crusher. There was no written procedure in place to deal with blockages or working at heights,” he said, adding that he is satisfied with safety measures since put in place by the company.

Frank Harrington, the founder of Harrington Concrete and Quarries, who was not a relative of the deceased, said Joseph Harrington was “a most agreeable and capable worker” who was employed In July 2014 as a general operative to operate the crusher and screening plant.

He said the company did have the service of a health and safety officer, but that person was not on the site on the morning of the accident.

He told Coroner for Mayo Patrick O’Connor that a full-time health and safety officer is now in place and that checks are carried out on a frequent basis.

Before the jury retired to consider its verdict, Brian Gill, a solicitor for the deceased man’s family, suggested that they return a narrative verdict as “this would reflect the precise events on the day in question”.

However, Mr O’Connor rejected the suggestion, stating that in his opinion a verdict of accidental death, misadventure or an open verdict would be mor appropriate. The jury returned a verdict of misadventure.