Cork County Council yesterday pleaded guilty to a single charge in a health and safety prosecution case, arising out of the death of an employee during tree-felling work more than three years ago.
Michael O’Donovan, 44, a father of three from Aghabullogue, Co Cork, and an employee of the council, was killed while working at a site off Carr’s Hill in November 2012.
There were three health and safety charges against Cork County Council on the indictment, and a guilty plea was entered in respect of the first charge.
The charge stated the county council, being an employer within the meaning of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act of 2005, at a place of work under its control, Carr’s Hill, Douglas, Cork, failed to manage and conduct work activity, namely the felling of trees using a chainsaw, in such a way as to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the safety, health, and welfare at work of employees by failing to provide adequate appropriate equipment.
Sentencing at Cork Circuit Criminal Court was listed for February 10 by Judge Séan Ó Donnabháin.
It is anticipated the remaining two charges may be struck out once the sentencing hearing is concluded.
The remaining two charges are of failing to manage the work, as a consequence of which a person, employee, Michael O’Donovan suffered personal injuries and died, and failing to provide information, instruction or training in relation to the risks and dangers inherent in the work activity of felling trees by using a chainsaw.
At an inquest in January 2013 into Mr O’Donovan’s death, assistant state pathologist Dr Margot Bolster told city coroner Myra Cullinane the cause of death was severe head injuries due to blunt force trauma consistent with being struck by a telegraph pole.
The accident happened near the Vicarage housing estate just before 3pm on the date in question.
Colleagues alerted the emergency services and Mr O’Donovan was rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital, where he died later.
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