Construction company in death case had 'strong safety record'

A forensic engineer has described a construction company charged with breaching safety regulations as having "a culture of safety far beyond the minimum required by legislation".

Mr Donal Terry was giving evidence for the defence in the trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of PJ Carey (Contractors) Ltd, Carey House, Great Central Way, Wembley, England.

"This is a company that walked the walk and not just talked the talk," Mr Terry said.

The company has pleaded not guilty to failing to comply with health and safety regulations at a site at Ballymun Road on December 9, 2002 when a drainage pipe layer died following the collapse of a trench.

Mr Terry told defence counsel, Mr Hugh Hartnett SC (with Mr Ronan Kennedy BL), that nobody should ever enter an unsupported trench on a major building site and the company's records showed that the man who died in the collapsed trench, Mr Brendan Coulton of Emyvale, Co Monaghan had been reprimanded previously.

Mr Terry told Mr Hartnett he was impressed by the "active management" approach adopted by the company to safety matters which he said extended "far beyond the aspirational field".

He said the company had "a very clear line of authority" regarding safety and had "a daily system of safety planning to consider specific hazards to be dealt with that day". Documents filled out on a daily basis enhanced that.

"I don't know of any other company in Ireland that did that in 2002," Mr Terry added.

The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of eight men and four women.

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