Nightclub accused of breaking safety regulations after workplace death

A nightclub, one of its directors and a manager are being prosecuted for breaking health and safety regulations following the death of a barman who was crushed in a goods lift at work.

Father-of-two Stephen Hampson (aged 31) from Castlegrange Close in Clondalkin, south Dublin, died on August 23, 2009, after he suffered fatal injuries in an incident at Blu Bar in Tallaght, in Dublin.

He had been stuck in a lift and is believed to have been trying to get out when it started to move, causing the injuries which killed him. A coroner's inquest into the cause of his death has already been adjourned until October 12.

However, a prosecution has been brought against TBC Bar Ltd, the owners of the Blu Bar, at Tuansgate, in Tallaght, as well as one of its directors James Lambert, of Castlelawns Tallaght and manager David McKee of Ellensborough Drive, in Tallaght.

They have been summonsed to Dublin District Court to face charges under the Safety and Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.

The charges allege they failed to manage work activities in particular the use of a Hidral goods lift in a way to ensure the safety of employees.

The Hidral lift was designed for transport of goods only and was being used by people, it is also alleged.

It is also alleged that the lift was used by Mr Hampson who suffered injuries and died.

The nightclub faces accusations of improper conduct likely to put the safety of employees at risk by failing to prevent use of the lift to travel between floors.

It is also alleged that the lift had not been inspected in the six-month period before Mr Hampson's death.

Mr Lambert and Mr McKee are accused of recklessly risking the safety of Mr Hampson by permitting him to use the lift.

Prosecuting counsel Grace O'Flaherty told Judge Conal Gibbons today that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had directed that the case should only be dealt with in the District Court if guilty pleas were entered.

Judge Gibbons also heard that the DPP has recommended that if they plead not guilty to the charges, they should be tried before a judge and jury in the Circuit Court, which can impose greater penalties.

The three named defendants have not yet indicated how they intend to plead to the charges. Judge Gibbons adjourned the case until a date in July when the trial venue will be determined.


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