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Community service for bar director after employee crushed in lift shaft

A director and a shareholder of the company were sentenced in court today over the incident

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A DIRECTOR AND shareholder have avoided jail but will carry out community service after a bar worker was crushed in a lift shaft.

The employee, Stephen Hampson (31), was fatally injured when travelling in a goods lift in the Blu Bar in Tallaght on 23 August 2009.

The chief executive of the Health and Safety Authority described the incident as a “terrible tragedy”.

Today, director James Lambert and shareholder David McKee of Blu Bar were ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service each, instead of a six-month jail sentence, by Judge Mary Ellen Ring in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court following a breach of health and safety legislation.

Crushed in goods lift

Stephen Hampson was crushed between the lift car and the lift shaft in a goods lift that was not designed to carry people, the Health and Safety Authority said.

It explained that there were no controls, lights or doors on the lift car itself.

Safety features on two of the landing doors had been bypassed to allow the lift car to move with the landing doors open. This goods lift was used to carry employees and management on a daily basis.

James Lambert is Director and Company Secretary of TBC Bar Ltd (trading as Blu Bar).

He pleaded guilty to two charges under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act:

  • That he did recklessly place at risk the safety, health and welfare of persons in connection with work activities
  • That he failed to manage and conduct work activities in such a way as to ensure the safety, health and welfare of employees
  • As a consequence of which Mr Stephen Hampson suffered injury and died, contrary to Section 14(b) and 8(2)(b).

David McKee, Company Shareholder, entered a guilty plea to three breaches of health and safety legislation:

  • That as a manager he failed to ensure the safety, health and welfare of employees as provided for in Section 77(2)(a) contrary to Section 80 of the Act.

This was in addition to the two guilty pleas he entered on 20th February 2014 in relation to Section 14(b):

  • That he did place at risk the safety, health and welfare of persons in connection with work activities, as a consequence of which Stephen Hampson suffered injury and died.

Speaking after the sentencing, Brian Higgisson, Assistant Chief Executive of the HSA said that this accident “should not have happened”.

The goods lift in question wasn’t designed to carry people and allowing this practice to continue resulted in a terrible tragedy. Company directors and senior managers must ensure that they provide safe places of work for their employees. The consequences of not doing so, as seen in this case, can be devastating.

Read: 46 people killed in workplace accidents last year>

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