Firm fined €80,000 over work accident that led to leg amputation

22 February 2021

A plant hire firm has been fined €80,000 and ordered to pay over €10,000 in costs after the company was convicted of failing to maintain proper safety standards when one of its employees was struck by an excavator and ended up losing his leg.

Tom Lynes Plant Hire Ltd of Cecilstown, Mallow, Co Cork pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to failing to ensure the safety of its employees by failing to have in place an exclusion order around works that the company was carrying out at Ballyellis, Mallow on July 20th 2018.

The charge, which is contrary to Health and Safety legislation, further stated that as a consequence of the company failing to have an exclusion order in place to separate pedestrians from operational vehicles, employee Nicholas Geaney had suffered injury.

Tom Lynes Plant Hire Ltd also pleaded guilty to a second breach of Health and Safety legislation in that it failed to ensure that Nicholas Geaney was in possession of a valid Safety Awareness Registration Card when engaged by the company in operating a mulching machine.

Health and Safety Authority Inspector, Frances Murphy told the court that the company was carrying out clearance work at a private house at Ballyellis, Mallow removing trees and bushes to allow the owner to run some overhead power lines underground.

The larger trees were removed from the site but the smaller trees and bushes were being fed into a mulching machine by Mr Geaney and a work colleague while two other men were involved in the operation of an excavator which was digging up earth.

She told the court that Mr Geaney was to the back or the side of the excavator and never heard or saw it approach as it reversed and his left leg got caught beneath one of its tracks and, when he was freed, he was rushed to Cork University Hospital but he lost the leg from below the knee.

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