Firm fined €60k over death of worker

By Isabel Hayes

A waste management company has been fined €60,000 over the death of a worker who was crushed by a heavy vehicle while he was sorting waste four years ago.

Key Waste Management worker Boguslaw Szbisty (48) died after he was hit by a Manitou telehandler as he sorted through waste at the company’s site in Dublin in March 2016.

Dublin Criminal Courts of Justice 2 October 2016

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

A subsequent Health and Safety Authority (HSA) investigation found that Key Waste failed to properly segregate its pedestrian workers from the telehandler, leading to the death of Mr Szbisty.

The company pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one count of failing to ensure the safety, health and welfare of its employees at its site on Greenhills Road, Walkinstown, Dublin on March 18, 2016.

The maximum penalty is €3 million. The company directors, Mark Butler and Neville O’Boyle, were both in court for the sentence on Friday.

HSA inspector Joan Flynn told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that the HSA was called to the site by Dublin Fire Brigade on the day of the accident.

The court heard that Mr Szbisty, a contract worker, had only started working for the company three weeks prior to the accident. His job involved manually sorting through piles of waste to remove items such as wood, metal and plastic before it was removed by a telehandler.

On the day in question, the driver of the telehandler thought Mr Szbisty and his co-worker had completed sorting the waste and had left the building when he started reversing the vehicle.

The court was shown CCTV footage of the site, which showed the telehandler working close to Mr Szbisty and his colleague shortly before the collision.

The court was then shown footage of the telehandler colliding with Mr Szbisty. He was taken to hospital but pronounced dead a short time later.

Insp Flynn told the court that the telehandler should not have been working in such close proximity to the workers on the ground. The court heard the telehandler in question was missing some side and rear-view mirrors and its safety certificate was out of date.

Insp Flynn agreed with Ronan Kennedy SC, defending, that Key Waste had cooperated fully with the HSA and that they have since put in place a number of safety procedures to prevent another accident.

Mr Kennedy said the death of Mr Szbisty had been very upsetting and had “cast a long shadow” over the company, which had taken pride in its safety record. He told the court that Mr Butler and Mr O’Boyle attended the sentence “as a mark of respect to the deceased and the court”.

“They are deeply embarrassed both professionally and personally to find themselves before the court,” he said.

Mr Kennedy said the company had an unblemished record prior to the accident and has not come to the adverse attention of the HSA since. They have implemented a range of safety measures, including putting in an occupational health and safety management system in place and hiring an external health and safety consultant. The vehicle’s mirrors were fixed shortly after the accident and there is now a system in place where pedestrian workers are segregated from telehandlers on-site.

“With the benefit of hindsight, the company unequivocally accepts the system in place at the time was inappropriate,” Mr Kennedy said. “It wasn’t sufficiently robust to prevent accidents.”

Mr Szbisty’s family received compensation for his death, the court heard.

Mr Kennedy handed in the company’s financial records and said it was in a position to pay the fine imposed by the court. Handing down a fine of €60,000, Judge Martin Nolan said it was difficult to know what the appropriate penalty was.

“The picker shouldn’t have been on the premises when the workers were sorting the waste,” he said. But he accepted the company had taken measures to address their health and safety issues.

The judge extended his condolences to Mr Szbisty’s family.

Prev St Vincent de Paul receives 95,000 requests for help
Next Men charged with robbing worker of electric scooter
  • Light House in Kilnamanagh gets decorated for Easter
  • Scrap yard fire Greenhills Road
  • A Happy St Patrick’s Day from Dublin Fire Brigade
  • Happy St Patrick's Day 2021
  • Food table in Tallaght

Will you watch the Harry and Meghan interview with Oprah?

We use cookies to improve your experience on our site, personalise content, provide social media features, analyse our traffic, show you relevant advertising and to target and report on ads. By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies that may process personal data for these purposes.