Co. Cork farmer fined €10,000 after death of pipe-laying contractor on his farm

Tuesday 17th November 2020

Today, Tuesday 17th November, at Cork Circuit Court, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a fine of €10,000 on a Cork farmer following a guilty plea to a breach of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.
The case arose following an incident on 28th September 2017 on a farm in Coachford, Co Cork when Denis Cullinane was fatally injured when a trench, in which he was laying pipes as part of drainage works, collapsed in and engulfed him. An investigation by the Health and Safety Authority concluded that all appropriate safety measures were not in place at the time of the incident.
A farmer pleaded guilty to S8(2)(e) contrary to S77(9) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (regarding an unsafe system of work) and was fined €10,000.
A person operating the excavator at the time of the incident pleaded guilty to S12 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (failure to ensure that persons, not being employees, at a place of work were not exposed to risks to their safety and health). He was fined €1,000.
Mark Cullen, Chief Inspector with the Health and Safety Authority, said:
“It is important to ensure that contractors can manage and conduct all their work activities in a safe manner. In particular, as can be seen by this tragic case, it is important that safe systems of work are in place to ensure that persons carrying out the work can do so in a safe manner.”