Safety group operated on dangerous site, court hears

A health and safety inspector has revealed at the trial of a construction company charged with breaching safety regulations that three safety groups operated on a site where a drainage pipe layer died five years ago.

PJ Carey (Contractors) Ltd, Carey House, Great Central Way, Wembley, England has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to failing to comply with health and safety regulations at the site at Ballymun Road on December 09, 2002.

Mr Brendan Coulton of Emyvale, County Monaghan died when the unsupported trench he and other members of an excavation team were digging collapsed.

Kevin Broderick, of the Health and Safety Authority, agreed with defence counsel, Mr Hugh Hartnett SC (with Mr Ronan Kennedy BL), that the PJ Carey company hired Safety Solutions Limited as an independent safety consultant at the site and that experts from Murial Associates also opereated there.

Mr Broderick further agreed that resident engineers employed by Ballymun Rejuvination Limited (BRL) were a "wandering presence" on the site and had the right to halt work if they considered it dangerous.

Mr Hartnett showed him PJ Carey (Contractors) Ltd's Health and Safety Plan and put it to him that the prosecution had accused the company of not having such a document.

Mr Broderick replied that he didn't recall seeing the full document.

Senan McElvaney, the former site foreman, told prosecuting counsel, Mr Colm Ó Briain BL, that he identified the location and depth of underground service cables in the area of the proposed drainage pipe seven weeks before work started.

Mr McElvaney said the drainage pipe trench dug between these service cables was harder to secure on one side because of its proximity to the Ballymun Road.

He said his excavation team dug the trench deeper because they wouldn't have been able to approach the hole from the same side once the machinery had been moved.

Mr McElvaney added that he warned Mr Coulton not to go into the unsupported trench but to put a trench box into the hole for support.

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

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