Company fined €180,000 after incident on Wexford farm building project

Thursday July 9th 2020

Today at Kilkenny Circuit Court, Judge Cormac Quinn imposed a fine of €180,000 on JP Murphy Bros. Farm and Industrial Buildings for breaches of health and safety legislation. Judge Quinn directed that the fine imposed be used as a compensation payment for the injured party, which is an unprecedented outcome in a court case of this nature. 

The company pleaded guilty to the following two offences under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005: 

  1. Section 8 (2) (a) of the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005 as it relates to Section 77 (9) (a).
  2. Section 8(2) (e) of the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005 as it relates to Section 77(9) (a).

The prosecution arose after an incident which occurred on January 26th 2015 on a farm building re-roofing project at Boley, New Ross in Co. Wexford. 

An employee of the company suffered personal injuries when he fell approximately six metres while working on the roof of an agricultural building. There were no fall protection or fall prevention measures in place at the time of the incident. 

The company had pleaded guilty to two charges:

  • that they failed to manage and conduct work activities in such a way as to ensure the safety of employees; and
  • that they failed to provide systems of work that were planned, organised, performed and maintained.

Mark Cullen, Chief Inspector with the Health and Safety Authority, said:

It is important that employers and contractors engaged in construction activities involving working at height ensure that there are appropriate safe systems of work in place to protect their employees against falls. Failure to do so, on this occasion, led to a very serious incident and severe consequences for the injured worker.