Director fined after hitting worker with lorry

The director of a building contractor has been fined after he hit an employee while reversing a lorry.

Peter O’Hare, who is both a director and worker at County Down-based Peter O’Hare Ltd, caused an employee to suffer “serious crush injuries” in the incident, which took place in November 2022, according to the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI).

In a statement, the regulator said the man was working alongside O’Hare to retrieve a forklift truck that had become stuck in uneven ground at the company’s premises when the lorry was reversed into him.

HSENI investigators found that O’Hare failed to take reasonable care for the health and safety of other persons at work, and failed to ensure that others were in a place of safety as he reversed the lorry within the yard.

Suitable and sufficient checks should and could have easily been carried out to make sure the worker was in a safe place, the watchdog said.

O’Hare pleaded guilty to breaching Article 8 (a) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978. On Monday (8 July ), he was fined £12,500 at Craigavon Crown Court.

Peter O’Hare Ltd is a general building contractor that carries out refurbishment, improvement and maintenance works across the private and public sectors. It turned over £12.7m in the year to 31 March 2023.

After the hearing, Sophie Pearson, an inspector with HSENI’s major investigation team, said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided. In relation to workplace transport activities, suitable workplace transport controls must be implemented, with adequate instruction, information, and effective communication in place at all times.

“HSENI will not hesitate to take enforcement action to ensure workplace transport risks are appropriately managed.”

A statement from the watchdog said those running sites should make sure vehicles and pedestrians are segregated, that the most appropriate vehicle is used for a task and the environment, and that drivers are competent and behave properly.

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