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Company fined €300,000 over death of worker at Corrib gas tunnel

He received fatal head injuries when a pipe he was working under collapsed on top of him.

Tunnel boring machinery near the Corrib Gas Pipeline.
Tunnel boring machinery near the Corrib Gas Pipeline.
Image: Niall Carson

A GERMAN CIVIL engineering company has been fined €300,000 over the death of a contractor in 2013.

Wayss and Freitag Ingenieurbau AG contractor Lars Wagner, who worked for Herrenknecht AG, was killed on 8 September 2013 at the Mayo project.

He received fatal head injuries when a pipe he was working under collapsed on top of him as a result of an overpressure event in the pipe system.

The accident occurred in the gear chamber of a tunnel boring machine that was constructing the tunnel. Wagner was engaged in maintenance activity at the time of the accident.

The machine was in operation while Wagner was in the gear chamber, contrary to the manual that stated that maintenance work should only be carried out on a stopped tunnel boring machine.

The company yesterday pleaded guilty to offences under Section 12 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, 2007 at Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge Rory McCabe imposed a combined fine of €300,000 for both.

Brian Higgisson, Assistant Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority said:

“Maintenance operations can be dangerous and should always take place in a planned and controlled manner. The most important consideration is to make sure that work does not place anyone in danger, in this case the failure to follow safety procedures led to tragedy.”

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