Two men have been sentenced over the death of a man on a farm in county Armagh in 2015.
Portadown builder Norman McKenzie, along with client Ivan Reilly (a farmer) were sentenced today at Craigavon Crown Court for Health and Safety failings that led to the death of a worker and caused injury to another.
McKenzie was fined £3,000, while Mr Reilly was fined £1,500. He also pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was given a 15-month sentence suspended for three years.
Today’s judgement follows a joint Police Service for Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) investigation into the fatal incident which occurred on 20 January 2015 on Reilly’s farm on the Derrycarne Road, Portadown.
McKenzie was hired by Reilly to assist him in building a three-bay farm shed at his premises at Derrycarne Road.
However, no safety precautions whatsoever were in place to protect workers from falling while sheeting the high roof of the shed, and the situation was further exacerbated by the fact that it was raining.
As a result, workers Petyo Hristanov and Millen Dimov both fell from the roof.
Tragically, Mr Hristanov died as a result of his fall, while Mr Dimov received minor injuries.
The court heard how Reilly completely ignored his responsibilities under Health and Safety Law by failing to ensure this work was carried out safely, while the contractor completely failed to assess the risks associated with this job.
Mr Hristanovs wife said: “My hard working husband and father to our family went to work and never came home. He fell from an unguarded roof and we are still struggling to come to terms with our great loss. As a family we really hope people get the message and be strict with the safety of their employees.”
After the sentencing Mrs Linda Murphy, an Inspector with HSENI’s Major Investigation Team said: “This tragic accident was completely preventable.
“Work at height is the biggest single cause of fatal and serious injury in the construction industry and it is crucial that all construction jobs, big or small, have the appropriate health and safety precautions in place.
“Mr Reilly, the farm owner, was advised previously by HSENI regarding safety work at heights and should have been well aware of the risks. As the person commissioning the work, he was required to take reasonable steps to ensure that arrangements were in place to allow work at heights to be carried out safely.”
PSNI Chief Inspector Barney O’Connor added: “This was a joint investigation between the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland. PSNI will continue to work with partner agencies to keep people safe, including as they work.”
Information on your legal duties about working at height, as a person commissioning the work (the client), or as a person carrying out the work, is available on HSENI’s website: http://www.hseni.gov.uk/articles/falls-height
If you are asked to work at heights and are concerned about safety measures please call HSENI’s duty Inspector at HSENI’s Information and Advice Helpline on 0800 0320 121 for more information or visit the website at www.hseni.gov.uk.