Nitrofert Ltd has been fined €350,000 over a fatal workplace accident where the employee of a contractor was crushed by a 500kg pallet of fertiliser.

Judge Cormac Quinn imposed a fine of €350,000 on Nitrofert Ltd at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court over the accident which occurred at Nitrofert Ltd at Raheen, New Ross, Co Kilkenny on 11 October 2019.

The accident resulted in a contractor being struck and pinned between a steel upright and a moving pallet containing 500kg of fertiliser on a conveyor while he was repairing a barcode printer.

Nitrofert had earlier pleaded guilty to six charges in breach of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.

The company pleaded guilty to Section 12 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 contrary to Section 77(2)(a) in that it failed to have in place a safe permit to work system to ensure the safety of people working at or near dangerous moving machinery parts.

Protection devices

The company also pleaded guilty to Section 15(3) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 contrary to Section 77(9)(a) in that moving parts of machinery were not adequately equipped with guards or protection devices.

The Health and Safety Authority’s (HSA) assistant chief executive Mick Cullen, said the accident was a “preventable fatality” and “a reminder that there are serious risks when operating or working with machinery”.

“Risk assessments must be carried out by the duty holder and all preventative measures put in place to ensure any operator or person working with or around machinery will not be placed at risk of serious or fatal injury,” he added.