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Dublin: 0 °C Monday 30 March, 2020

Company fined €30k over death of roof worker following safety breaches

Juris Baiskis died in 2010 after falling through a roof light.

File photo of roof cleaning.
File photo of roof cleaning.
Image: roof cleaning via terst

A COMPANY HAS been fined €30,000 over safety breaches that resulted in the death of a worker in 2010.

The judgement was imposed on Terralift Ireland Ltd today at a court in Monaghan, where a plant foreman also received a fine of €10,000.

A 34-year-old man died at one of the company’s facilities in Castleblayney on 14 September 2010 following a seven-metre fall through a roof light.

The man, Juris Baiskis, and two other workers were carrying out cleaning of the roof and guttering, previously identified as a high-risk activity.

They had been instructed by the plant foreman, Robert Woods, to ‘mind themselves and watch out for the roof lights’, however no safety control measures identified by the plant’s safety statement were provided to the workers.

Judge John O’Hagan found that the company had failed in its responsibilities in that:

  • the safety critical equipment required to carry out such work activity was not available to the operatives on the day of the incident
  • Mr Baiskis or the other operatives were not trained to work on roofs
  • anchorage points required to provide safe means of working on roofs were not provided
  • safe means of access to the roof was not provided.

The judge also found that Woods was aware that the activity required certain safety measures to be taken.

Brian Higgission, assistant chief executive with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), said that “any work that is carried out at a height must be managed in a way that does everything possible to reduce the risks of a fall”.

“The appropriate equipment must be used and the risk from fragile surfaces must be recognised and controlled.”

Read: More people die in workplace accidents in Cork than any other county >

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Nicky Ryan

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