Two Companies Fined for Safety Breaches Resulting in Fatal Fall

Wednesday 2nd July

Fines of €100,000 and €25,000 were imposed on two companies BIS Willich Industrial Services Ltd and AB Access Ltd respectively, by Judge Michael O'Shea today (Wednesday 2nd July) in Naas Circuit Court.

Both companies had pleaded guilty to breaches of health and safety legislation.

The case arose as the result of an investigation into an accident where Mr. Liam Reynolds, an employee of BIS Willich Industrial Services Ltd, fell from the roof of Tegral Building Products in Athy, Co. Kildare and died.

In 2010, Tegral Building Products contracted with BIS Willich Industrial Services Ltd to remove asbestos cement sheeting from their factory roof and replace them with new sheeting.

BIS Willich Industrial Services Ltd engaged AB Access Ltd to provide scaffolding services for the duration of the contract.

On the morning of 10th November Mr. Liam Reynolds was part of a group of Willich workers who were removing sheeting from the roof. At roughly 11am Mr. Reynolds lost his balance and fell through a section of roof where no scaffolding was provided. He fell 4.5 metres through the fragile roof to the ground, and died.

BIS Willich Industrial Services Ltd pleaded guilty to one charge under Section 8 (2)(a) of the 2005 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, contrary to Section 77 (9) (a) in that it failed to manage and conduct work activities to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare of employees.

AB Access Ltd pleaded guilty to one charge under Regulation 103 (2)(c) of the 2007 General Application Regulations in that it failed to ensure that the means of protection - a guard rail on the right hand side of the roof - was so placed to prevent as far as was practicable, the fall of an employee.

Speaking after sentencing Brian Higgisson Assistant Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority said, "Roof-work is a high-risk activity, especially where fragile surfaces are concerned, but that doesn't mean that the risks cannot be managed. Contractors must plan for safe working and review their systems of work to ensure that tragedies like this do not occur."