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Firm fined £15,000 for health and safety breach after death of man at excavation site

It is understood the deceased had lain for about two days before being discovered by a neighbour

A County Antrim company was been fined £15,000 following the death of a man at an excavation site in Rathfriland.

Amalgamated Environmental Services (AES) Ltd – trading as AES Marconi – pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one breach of health and safety legislation at Newry Crown Court.

The company did so after Denis Paul Rodgers was found dead within an excavation site at the rear of his house.

The 43-year-old had lain for up to two days after a fall at the property he was renting in April 2016.

The site was being remediated following contamination with oil.

An investigation by HSENI found that the work was not appropriately planned.

An incomplete generic risk assessment had been conducted without visiting the site, security arrangements were not suitable to prevent access to the area, arrangements to assist tenants with necessary access to the area were not clear, and the risks associated with the work were not effectively communicated.

HSENI Inspector Jonathan Knox said: “Our thoughts are with the Rodgers family today.

“Denis’s tragic death could have been avoided if access to the construction area to the rear of the property at Downpatrick Street, Rathfriland had been carefully assessed and effective controls put in place.

“Careful consideration of the risks is vital to ensure that practical, and often simple measures are put in place to prevent such incidents from occurring.

“All contractors are reminded of the importance of the planning stage in any project.

“In particular, consideration should be given to the risks to those who are not working on the site, but still may be affected. Control measures must be reviewed as the work progresses.”

In the carrying out of its statutory duty, HSENI says it will continue to work with the Public Prosecution Service in the pursuance of successful criminal prosecutions of those who fail to ensure the safety of their employees or the public affected by their actions.

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